Community-based tourism needs more support to develop sustainably

December 13, 2022 - 08:21
The central province of Nghệ An boasts much potential for community-based tourism, but still needs support policies to facilitate this type of tourism.
An ethnic minority community-based tourism facility in Con Cuông District, Nghệ An Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Bích Huệ

NGHỆ AN — The central province of Nghệ An boasts potential for community-based tourism, but still needs support policies to facilitate this type of tourism.

Community-based tourism not only helps diversify products and enrich experiences for travellers but is also useful for the sustainable development of local communities and the preservation of cultural identities.

Tiên Kỳ Commune of Tân Kỳ District is home to Mount Pù Loi, 1,100m above sea level, along with a system of limestone mountains and caves. Located at its foot is Mó Cave where vestiges of primitive humans were found.

In this commune, Phẩy Thái Minh village is one of the destinations chosen to develop community-based tourism. All local residents are Thái ethnic people who still uphold their cultural identities.

Once coming here, visitors will have a chance to live the traditional life of Thái people by staying in stilt houses, tasting traditional dishes, trying brocade making, and watching the Tiền Đồng liquor production process.

Despite active efforts, Phẩy Thái Minh village and Tiên Kỳ commune as a whole are still facing numerous difficulties to foster tourism.

Nguyễn Văn Thạch, Chairman of the communal People’s Committee, said limited capital is the biggest obstacle, noting that Tiền Kỳ hasn’t gathered enough funding for inviting experts to give guidance on tourism development.

The factors necessary for tourism development have yet to be in place sufficiently, especially transport infrastructure linking places of interest. Besides, essential services remain modest, the commune hasn’t created its own typical products, while local tourism workers still lack relevant knowledge and skills, he noted.

In Con Cuông District, this type of tourism is currently available in Khe Rạn village (Bồng Khê Commune), Nưa and Pha villages (Yên Khê Commune), and Xiêng village (Môn Sơn Commune).

Since 2016, specialists from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), under a livelihood diversification project, have assisted local residents to develop community-based tourism and set up groups of service suppliers. Thanks to that, locals have made use of their advantages to develop livelihoods and raise income.

However, such sites in Nghệ An are still small and haven’t been connected with one another to form an attractive network of community-based tourism. The experiences they offer are yet attractive enough to persuade travellers to stay for a long time.

Trần Công Hiển, deputy head of the culture division of Con Cuông District, said the district hopes provincial authorities will issue mechanisms, policies, programmes, and projects for developing tourism, especially community-based tourism.

It is also necessary to increase training service providers in environmental protection and tourism knowledge, assist with product marketing, and design new tours to attract holidaymakers to Con Cuông, he added.

Meanwhile, some experts held that to sustainably develop community-based tourism, it is important to include tourism development in policies on regional development, community development, new-style rural area building, agriculture and rural development, cultural heritage preservation, and human resources training.

Localities should also upgrade infrastructure and transport facilities, support manpower training, develop services, revive traditional crafts, and form chains of community-based tourism connectivity. — VNS