How we’re keeping communities at the center of tourism recovery in Vietnam

We were able to identify four villages with high community tourism and socio-economic impact potential for project intervention at Cuc Phuong National Park.

As a well-known destination in Southeast Asia, Vietnam has beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, diverse cultures, expansive coastlines, mountains, deltas and much more, attracting over 18 million international visitors in 2019.

These visitors contributed over US$ 33.1 million to Vietnam’s growing economy and made it one of the most popular countries to visit in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  Vietnam’s economy has suffered greatly from the halt in tourism. In 2020, revenue from tourism decreased dramatically, generating only 42% compared to 2019.

This has had a substantial impact on the people and places once frequently visited by international guests.

Planeterra’s work with the IUCN aims to offer and grow the benefits of sustainable community tourism in response to the impacts of the pandemic.

The project targets community members who have suffered financial loss from COVID-19 and introduces community tourism as a way to make the industry more sustainable and beneficial for all people and nature, as tourism returns to Vietnam.

The project is focused on two protected areas in North Vietnam: Cuc Phuong National Park and Van Long Wetland Natural Reserve.

Introducing Cuc Phuong National Park

In January, Planeterra’s project team in Vietnam visited Cuc Phuong National Park for the first time to kick off the project activities. Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong is the oldest national park in Vietnam, showcasing an engaging cultural and wildlife heritage with enchanting scenery.

Covered in a dense forest, this landscape forms the habitat for some of Asia’s rarest animal and plant species, like the Delacour’s Langur (Trachipythecus delacouri), Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and Vietorchis Aurea Aver Orchid.

The national park’s management board has done an amazing job in offering unique experiences with valuable knowledge in biodiversity conservation to both domestic and international visitors.

In 2020, the number of tourists visiting Cuc Phuong dropped by 50%. Subsequently, the number of visitors to communities around the park also decreased. In other villages with no prior tourism activities, people have also struggled to make ends meet.

Activities in Cuc Phuong over the past months

Working closely with IUCN and the management board of Cuc Phuong National Park, we were able to identify four villages with high community tourism and socio-economic impact potential for project intervention.

In order to better understand their situation, the Planeterra team first conducted a baseline survey of 185 community members.  Through this process, we learned that community members have a high interest to participate in tourism, but very limited exposure and access to the market.

The survey results provide a thorough understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted the communities’ livelihoods, their current tourism initiatives and their interest in engaging in community-based tourism.

Future project activities will be adapted to ensure that the interests of the local community are at the center of our work.

Planeterra is also working in Vietnam currently, and we will update you on that progress soon! We thank you and our entire community for supporting us and the communities we work with.

Stay tuned for our next activities in Van Long Nature Reserve!

Post a comment