Quảng Nam goes green for National Year of Tourism

March, 27/2022 - 08:34

Quảng Nam Province in central Việt Nam is pivoting towards a green tourism strategy that will focus on recycling, environmentally-friendly waste treatment, organic food, 'zero single-use plastics' and lower emissions.

 

Lanterns decorate a shop in Hội An, Quảng Nam Province, which will host a series of events to mark the National Tourism Year of 2022. VNS Photo Công Thành 

Quảng Nam Province in central Việt Nam is pivoting towards a green tourism strategy that will focus on recycling, environmentally-friendly waste treatment, organic food, 'zero single-use plastics' and lower emissions.

Farms, communities, hotels and businesses across the province are joining the drive.

Phạm Vũ Dũng, manager of the Rose Travel agency, recently opened Chic Chillax – a coffee and music destination – in suburban Cẩm Châu Village, 5km away from the Old Quarter of Hội An to host tourists during the pandemic recovery.

The green space offers an easy and relaxed stop for waste recycling overlooking a paddy field.

 

The Chàm Islands off Hội An attract tourists with its pristine nature. The Islands have been recovering tourism after two years of lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. VNS Photo Công Thành 

The site uses recycled and environment-friendly material for furniture, interior decorations, and kitchen waste treatment while offering low carbon solutions.

“We have been building a truly ‘green label’ tourism service so the tourist community in Hội An can be sustainable in a circular way. Destinations and accommodations can use old material to make a facelift for service and unique design,” Dũng said.

“Chic Chillax was built from bamboo and reclaimed wood on a rice farm in an organic agricultural community of Cẩm Châu Village. We have been encouraging local farmers to join us in building a non-chemical agro-tourism and low carbon destination in Hội An.”

Chic Chillax is a site for families, kids and young people to relax at the weekends focusing on entertainment and environment-friendly and waste recycling.

 

Tourists enjoy at an outdoor bar in Tân Thành eco-tour site on An Bàng Beach of Hội An. Quảng Nam Province promotes green tourism.  Photo courtesy of Tân Thành market 

A 400ha rice farming area in the village has been designed as an organic agro-tourism destination – where tourists explore the ‘clean and green’ rice farms while enjoying safe and healthy food from local farmers.

“It’s the best way for local farmers to improve their living by earning from organic agriculture. They still work on their farms but earn more from tourism services,” Dũng said.

“Straw from the harvest will be used for kitchen biogas, while ash helps fertilise the field. The by-farm product is used as natural nutrition for agriculture production.”

Chic Chillax is an example of the new tourism products in Hội An, alongside traditional destinations including the Old Quarter, nipa palm forest, Thanh Hà pottery village, and Kim Bồng carpentry village that have been unchanged for more than 20 years.

Local farmers and businesses in Cẩm Hà, Thanh Đông, Cẩm Kim, An Mỹ, Triêm Tây and Trà Quế have joined hands to introduce zero-waste agriculture and tourism zones over the past two years.

Lê Ngọc Thuận, chairman of Quảng Nam provincial innovation start-up association, said that tourists were still scared of coronavirus infections, so ‘safe and healthy’ destinations are favoured options.

“Isolated living environments and food self-sufficiency in suburban areas, which are safe, free from COVID, will emerge as new choices among travellers in the coming years,” Thuận said.

“More resorts and hotels in Hội An have been boosting kitchen waste recycling and growing their own vegetables for a safe source of greens.”

The owners of at least 100 hotels, homestays, villas and restaurants, and travel agencies in Quảng Nam have committed to reducing plastic waste and building a ‘zero plastic waste tourism’ brand.

Zero-waste communities have been established in Thanh Đông and Triêm Tây villages and the Chàm Islands, where local people recycle domestic waste and chemical-free dish-washing liquid.

Refillable Hội An, the first refillable concept store in Hội An, helps residents re-use thousands of containers by refilling empty plastic bottles of washing liquid with environmentally-friendly detergent.

Businesses in Hội An have been using straws, containers and souvenirs from bamboo and reed instead of single-use plastic.

The Chàm Islands, 20km off the coast of Hội An, was the first site in Việt Nam to ban plastic single-use straws and cups and plastic bags among tourists and local people.

Green criteria

In reviving tourism as part of the post-COVID-19 recovery plan, the Quảng Nam provincial Tourism Association has promoted green tourism in free plastic-zero waste-recycling and non-chemical communities.

The chairman of the Quảng Nam Tourism Association, Phan Xuân Thanh, said eco-tours aimed to promote awareness of fitness and hygiene in environmentally-friendly living spaces.

 

Chic Chillax is part of a new rural lifestyle in Cẩm Châu Village of Hội An. The site offers a green destination in the tourism hub. VNS Photo Công THành 

“It’s a new choice among tourists during the coronavirus pandemic, so the association is boosting ‘green’ behaviour including cleaning, waste recycling, organic consumption and healthcare tourism products,” Thanh said.

“Local tourism businesses offer healthy and safe service by boosting recycling waste, reducing plastic use and developing organic farm produce. This is the new trend in tourism in the province.”

A group of local travel agencies and people have successfully established the Tân Thành weekend open market as an artisanal and organic production rendezvous for local and expat vendors.

Tân Thành has been recognised as a One-Commune, One Product eco-tour brand – one of the first ‘green’ tourism brands employing the ‘circular economy’ as a sustainable tourism strategy in Quảng Nam.

“The community began waste classification at source and recycling by starting the first Material Recovery Facility in Hội An for receiving recyclable and reusable waste for better treatment rather than dumping it at overloaded landfills,” said Lê Quốc Việt, manager of a resort in Tân Thành fishing village.

The director of the local Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Nguyễn Thanh Hồng, said the province would feature 62 of the country’s 192 events for the Tourism Year of 2022.

The province, home to UNESCO-recognised world heritage sites of Hội An and Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary and the Hội An-Chàm Islands world biosphere, is targeting 4 million tourists, including 1.7 million international visitors, with revenue of VNĐ6 trillion (US$260 million) this year.

Quảng Nam province will be the first local area in Việt Nam to promote green tourism criteria. Tourism businesses must employ waste recycling, waste reduction, energy-saving and plastic-free consumption.

Hồng said the Quảng Nam tourism industry, which contributes about 10 per cent of Gross Regional Domestic Product, aims to build sustainable tourism based on ecological protection, conservation, waste recycling and emissions reduction.

Việt, who is founder of Tân Thành open market, said local travel firms were ready to host tourists returning to Quảng Nam.

 

A group of travellers join a bike tour in the UNESCO-recognised world heritage site of Hội An. VNS Photo Công Thành 

He said COVID-19 prevention and ‘safe’ scenarios had been prepared at accommodations and destinations in dealing with possible coronavirus cases in Quảng Nam.

“We (travel agencies, hotels and resorts owners) are always on the alert for ‘health protection’ measures for tourists, any time and anywhere.”

The new drive is set to spearhead a more sustainable future for the country's tourism, with Quảng Nam leading the way. VNS

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