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Sustainable Tourism in Vietnam

Vietnam is a country rich in resources, both on and offshore. The availability and abundance of fresh water, forestry and seafood products along with a wide range of tropical fruits and vegetables along with stunning natural scenery makes it a prime destination for visitors seeking an authentic Southeast Asian experience.

However the extremely rapid growth of tourism in the country has strongly affected the environment, in particular the marine environment, and steps are being taken to protect the country’s resources for future generations.


Tourism has brought prosperity to communities left behind by the urban development of Vietnam’s cities. Towns like Phan Thiet, Hoi An, Qui Nhon and Halong Bay have profited greatly from the influx of tourists.

Ethnic minorities have also benefitted from tourism, but the impact on their fragile cultures has been noted. (See next section for details).

The strong growth of tourist arrivals has increased competition among providers of tourist services, in particular guesthouses, restaurants, transportation services and retail facilities. Profit margins have shrunk considerably as the tourism industry shifts towards more FIT travelers.

The reverse is true for the high-end segment of the market, as more five star resort hotels open to accommodate short-term visitors, mainly from regional countries.

Socio-culturally: Vietnam Sustainable Tourism Development Project

From the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism this plan outlines the steps that need to be taken to protect Vietnam’s ethnic minorities from excessive tourist growth:

Environmentally Sustainable Travel

More protective measures need to be set up in Vietnam to safeguard the environment. In particular, more national parks need to be established, and existing protected areas need more funding to ensure visitors obey the rules set in place.

The eco tourist industry is in its infancy in Vietnam. The Topas Eco Resort ( is an example of an environmentally sustainable project, one that hires local ethnic minorities and minimizes its impact on the environment by using locally harvested construction materials. As the first of its kind in Vietnam, experts predict more projects like Topas will emerge in coming years.

This article is quoted from the Tourism ROI Newsletter published on 2009-07.28.

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Posted in Development, Performance and management, Sustainability, Vietnam.

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