01 September 2016

Vietnam: Green tourism is growing

This news is redirected by The Secretariat for Development Cooperation at SCIENCE from the World's Best News.

As part of The World's Best News campaign, development.ku.dk is posting a series of articles on the positive sides of Danish development aid. The original article is in Danish.

Vietnam has become a popular destination for millions of people all over the world. Now a bigger part of the the tourism will be made sustainable.

The world loves Vietnam. Last year almost eight million people visited the country. This is more than a tripling in 10 years. The growing tourist industry has created growth and millions of jobs, but it has not always been benefiting the rural population and the environment.

In 2008 the WWF began a cooporation with local authorities, tour operators and a number of villages around Cat Tien National Park in southern Vietnam - the aim was to create good examples of sustainable tourism in the country.

This resulted in the Ta Lai Longhouse, a traditional longhouse build of bamboo and palm leaves where local people work as cooks, service personal and as guides taking tourists on tours mountainbiking, kayaking or trekking in the area. The villagers and the employees of the nationalpark have had training in management of tourism and environment.

"When the locals are making money on tourists they no longer have to cut down trees illegally and shoot animals in the woods," Trine Glue Doan explains. She is senior advisor in the WWF. Many of the villagers are former rice farmers, who concurrently with the exhaustion and overexploition of the soil had begun to live from poaching and illegal logging.

"The wood is a giant resource, and many people have been dependent on it for generations. Therefore, it is about exploiting the wealth fo the forest sustainably," Trine Glue Doan explains.