Northernmost Lào Cai sees success with hybrid agriculture-tourism model

March 18, 2023 - 08:52
Many of Lào Cai’s localities have seen initial success by growing plants of high economic value alongside providing eco-tourism services.
Plum blossoms in the northernmost province of Lào Cai. — Photo

LÀO CAI — In a move to improve the livelihoods of local people as well as ensure sustainable development, Lào Cai Province has been combining agricultural production and tourism services, the Tin Tức (News) newspaper reported.

The growth model has seen significant success.

As the agriculture industry in Lào Cai grows, the areas for growing plums, pears, peaches and platycodon also increase.

These plants are not only of high agricultural and medicinal values, but also form a spectacular landscape for tourism development.

Bắc Hà District, where there are over 600 hectares of plum trees, is considered the ‘capital’ of plum blossoms of Lào Cai and the entire northwestern region.

After two years of COVID-19, the district saw an exponential rise in the number of tourists as spring arrives, with thousands of visitors every day.

Đặng Lê Thị Tâm from Thái Nguyên Province said that despite having visited Lào Cai on many occasions, this is the first time she has come here during the plum blossom season.

Tâm said: “I am in awe when seeing the picturesque sea of white plum blossoms, which is also interspersed with brilliant canola flower gardens scattered on the northwestern mountains.”

Since 2020, Sa Pa Township’s People’s Committee has been implementing a project growing canola in Lồ Lao Chải and Tả Van Giáy 2 communes.

Aiming to improve the local agricultural practices, the staff at Sa Pa Agricultural Services Centre have provided guidance on canola planting techniques, alongside tourism promotion and development.

According to the centre, the agriculture-tourism model has generated dual economic benefits, of which 60 per cent comes from tourism services and the rest from canola planting.

Canola cultivation also helps preserve terrace fields, a signature of this mountainous region, as well as promote sustainable and eco-friendly tourism.

Today, Lao Chải and Tả Van Giáy 2 communes have become prominent tourist attractions.

Cơmlam Eco House, providing accommodation in the area with a view of a vast canola flower field, had a busy start to the year with both local and international tourists.

Vàng Nguyên, the owner, said that the locality now has many forms of ecological tourism.

The most important thing in this field is to maintain a clean environment, with each garden tended to with safe, organic techniques.

Her residence’s main source of income is no longer agricultural products but tourism services, she said.

This spring also saw the fifth crop of platycodon planted in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organisation in Tả Van Chư Commune.

Last year, this plant brought in a total of VNĐ9 billion (US$382,000) for Mông people who live here.

Giàng Seo P Lấu, head of Lả Gì Thàng Hamlet in the commune, said that spring is the season of white plum and pear blossoms, while the blue-violet platycodon flower blooms in summer and autumn.

“What’s even more joyful is that we Mông people have a stable income growing these plants. Many families have escaped poverty and become well-off,” he added.

Seeing the potential and advantages of developing agriculture alongside tourism, in the next two years, Lào Cai Province will deploy a development programme focusing on these two sectors at tourist attractions run by or with the involvement of the local communities.

Many of Lào Cai’s localities have seen initial success by growing plants of high economic value alongside providing eco-tourism services.

Measures have also been taken to prevent using land for other purposes than agriculture, while also promoting intensive farming, land use coefficient, and environmental protection.

Localities have been working to improve the surroundings of agricultural production land, creating a premise to develop further the ‘farmstay’ and ‘farm trip’ models.

At the provincial level, Lào Cai has been cooperating with media and travel agencies for support and strengthening connections in agriculture-tourism services. — VNS