Responsible Tourism - An indispensable requirement of tourism development in Vietnam in the globalization trend

Date: 18/01/2018

Responsible Tourism - Essential Requirements of Tourism Development in Vietnam in the Trend of Globalization, Master Vu Quoc Tri, Director of EU Project, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Along with the renovation of the country over the past 20 years and after 10 years of implementation of tourism development strategy 2001-2010, Tourism has made great progress and gained remarkable achievements. Results on the number of tourists, income, GDP and employment have confirmed the role of Tourism in the national economy. Tourism has made important contributions to economic growth, hunger eradication, reduce poverty, ensure social security, preserve and promote cultural values, protect the environment and maintain national security.

The Vietnam Tourism Development Strategy to 2020 with a vision to 2030 set out the overall goal for tourism in the new period is "By 2020, tourism will become a spearhead economic sector with professionalism, a system of material facilities is relatively synchronous, modern; high quality, diversified and branded tourist products bearing the national cultural identity and competition with other countries in the region and the world. Striving to 2030, Vietnam becomes a country with tourism industry development.

To achieve this goal, the tourism industry is pursuing a policy of sustainable development, which considers the development of responsible tourism is the path to success. Responsible tourism aims to provide positive experiences for visitors and local residents, raising awareness about respect for the environment and culture, mitigating negative impacts from tourism development, focusing on the poor, empowering local people; through Tourism, maximize their income and employment.

1. Responsible Tourism - A New Approach to Tourism Development

Today, approaching a responsible tourism development is becoming a global trend. Many countries in the world have done very well  this approach. The concept of "responsible tourism" was first introduced by the World Tourism Organization in 2002 in the Cape Town Declaration. Accordingly, responsible tourism is defined as the principle of development, in which:

- Minimizing the negative impact on the economy, environment and society;

- Create greater economic benefits for the local population and improve the livelihoods of local communities;

- Improve working conditions and access to tourism;

- Involve local people in decisions that affect their lives and change their way of life;

- Contribute actively to the preservation of cultural heritage and natural heritage, preserve diversity;

- Provide interesting holidays for tourists through meaningful connections with local residents, better understanding of local culture, environmental and social issues;

- Create access for people with health problems;

- Promoting respect between tourists and locals.

Responsible tourism requires individuals, organizations and businesses to be responsible for their actions. This approach hit strongly in the responsibility in Tourism of all stakeholders, including: government, manufacturers, operators, carriers, services of the community, non-governmental organizations, tourists, local residents, professional associations, etc.

2. Responsible tourism in Vietnam

In Vietnam, the concept of responsible tourism has been addressed in many thematic workshops and research projects to address the issues which lack of sustainability in the development process. This approach aims to create positive experiences for visitors and homeowners, raising awareness of environment and culture, to minimize the adverse effects of tourism, to focus on the poor by empowering local people and increase their maximum income and employment from tourism. Therefore, tourism has the responsibility to fully meet the requirements of the development in the present context.

Tourism is responsible for the same foundation and purpose as sustainable tourism, but attaches great importance to the coordination of partners and action-oriented and result-oriented approach to creating a viable and commercially viable tourism product contribute to the development of the local. The importance of sustainable development is now clearly demonstrated in the Society Economic Development Plan and Tourism Development Strategy. In fact, the overall tourism development policies and planning have consistently emphasized to the requirement of sustainable development.

In Vietnam, responsible tourism has been proposed as a practical way to achieve direct results. In 2009, a forum of the Responsible Travel and Community Network was set up on the internet to share information of development partners and tourism businesses. At the same time, a group of travel companies volunteering to promote Responsible Traveling in Vietnam has formed a Responsible Travel Club. More and more companies are now committed to running a business sustainablely responsiblely, formulating tourism policies that are responsible for their operations. Social media forums, also brings more and more information on responsible tourism, sharing information between tourists, development agencies and tourism companies.

In particular, the European Union (EU) has once again sponsored Vietnam Tourism with a new technical assistance project entitled "Chapter environmentally and socially responsible tourism development "(EU project). The project will be implemented in the period from 2011 to 2015 with the common goal of “bringing the principles of responsible tourism into Vietnam's tourism industry to enhance competitiveness and contribute the implementation of the Socio-Economic Development Plan of the country, and the specific objective is to: promote responsible tourism services such as school and society, contributing to the implementation of the Vietnam Tourism Development Strategy.

Content of the EU project is designed to integrate responsible tourism into all aspects of policy, planning and destination governance, business, education and awareness at the national, regional and provincial level. Responsible travel principles will create muscle to make the tourism industry more efficient, more competitive and sustainable, expand opportunities for the poor and disadvantaged groups other such as women and minorities.

The EU project takes "Responsible Tourism" at the center of its design, dissemination and implementation in line with the Millennium Development Goals. This aims to minimize the negative impact on the environment while maximizing the economic, social and cultural benefits for the wider audience. All training, support and technical assistance provided throughout the sector will be implemented in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Cape Town on Tourism is responsible and placed in the context of good governance.

The implementation of the EU project is expected to bring some concrete results, such as: staff working in the management of tourism from the central ensure that local authorities have the capacity to make policy, planning and management of tourism responsible for the environment and society; the effectiveness of the partnership between the public sector and the private sector in tourism is enhanced; vocational training system in the Tourism industry including the VTOS Skill Standards System continues to be maintained and expanded.

According to international experts, the principle of responsible tourism development will be applied successfully in Vietnam.If all actors involved in the tourism process are highly aware and full of responsible tourism. Requirements of tourism development in the period need for more and more responsible tourism products being created to provide the market with "responsible" higher in tourism activities. This requires all partners in the industry to work together to work towards the common goal, creating more responsible tourism products in Vietnam.

3. Develop responsible tourism products

The existence and development of responsible tourism products is a prerequisite for the success of introducing tourism principles to apply in Vietnam. Due to responsible tourism is also a new concept should develop responsible tourism products should be follow a process to create a higher awareness of the requirements of responsible tourism development, and provide practical steps to turn ideas into action.

Responsible tourism product development should incorporate the usual tourism product development process with the basic principles of sustainable tourism. This process is carried out in the main stages, each stage has a system of implementation steps. Main results of each stage will create the direction and input for the next stage. Responsible tourism product development can be undertaken through 6 stages:

Stage 1. Market analysis

The starting point of this process is with the market. This approach is called "market-based planning." This method takes consumers' attention as a starting point to determine what kind of product needs to be developed. By catching and predicting in line with the needs of the major market segments, tourism products can be designed and developed with greater commercial success. If travel products are not commercially viable, the level of results will always be negligible! It is important to identify clearly main target market segments.

Stage 2. Product analysis

When evaluating current tourism products, the positive and negative impacts of tourism products will provide a basis and understanding deeply on current tourism products as well as the potential to develop new products.

Stage 3. Combination between market and product

The completion of Stage 1 and 2 will provide the information and understanding needed to strategically connect the needs of consumers with potential product development, bring important directions in the development of new products, or adjust the product at present to meet the requirements of the target market segments.

Stage 4. Assess the potential for responsible tourism product development

Once the primary target markets and the preferred types of products have been identified, the current assessment of travel products by destinations is necessary to assess the overall quality of these products and identify areas to improve to generate greater interest to consumers and bring more benefits to the locality in a sustainable manner.

Stage 5. Coordination of partners

The next step is to begin to identify how to effectively create more number of responsible tourism products. As mentioned above, successful tourism product development is inherently dependent on effective participation of all stakeholder groups (public sector, tourism businesses, tourists and development partners). To effectively coordinate the partners requires the construction of the item common goal and commitment of all partners. All partners must recognize and commit to supporting responsible tourism development for their own benefit of the individual and for the common good of the collective in his activities.

Stage 6: Make a Responsible Tourism Product Development Strategy and Action Plan

4. Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders


State management agencies are responsible for planning and managing tourism within their jurisdiction, at province, district or commune levels and village. The overall role of the State in tourism development is to ensure that the tourism industry operates effectively in line with the development general objective. In this role, the state is responsible for sectoral planning and management, facilitating the involvement of stakeholders in a meaningful way. Collecting and managing travel information, and participating in destination marketing. Responsible tourism development must be a priority of the tourism industry and should be managed appropriately to make a significant contribution to the country's overall socio-economic development plan, creating a favorable and competitive business environment.


Tourism businesses play an important role in the development, promotion and supply of responsible tourism products to consumers. Businesses interact directly with both tourists and local communities and comply with government regulations. So, they are also an important link connecting the stakeholders and carrying out some important tasks. Enhance the understanding and efficiency of businesses will assist them in performing important roles such as "responsible tourism" suppliers and contribute significantly to the overall development. Improve the quality of tourism products as well as build the image of Vietnam is as a responsible tourism destination.

Local communities and the public

Local community members and the general public are both service providers and target groups of tourism. Local community itself is often referred to as the main tourist resources, their cultural identity, lifestyle and customs are the distinguishing features of interesting ravel experience. Visiting traditional craft villages and interacting with local people are the main characteristics of the modern travel experience. Therefore, every citizen has the potential role as a "tourism ambassador", and is responsible for introducing the beauty of the country for guests will ensure that when leaving Vietnam, they will bring true memories and understanding of the richness and beauty of Vietnam.


Tourism is not only seen as an objective of the industry but also an active participant in the development of tourism. More and more tourists are more aware and more concerned about their tourism impacts on the local environment and society. Travelers looking for these products and services that are more authentic and responsible are growing. Need to raise awareness that, a travel responsible behavior is not simply to satisfy their needs, but also to seek positive and beneficial experiences for the local community. The demand for tourism will guide the development of the sector, and play a major role in shaping the development of travel products and services. By choosing their products, services, participating activities and ways of spending, travelers can create the impacts bringing economic benefits to the locality and protect tourism resources.


Donors, NGOs and civil society organizations can play an important supporting role in promoting responsible tourism development through various support programs and projects. Tourism is a highly integrated industry, so it can be integrated with other development goals such as public health, education, infrastructure, livelihood development, natural resource management, development of small and medium enterprises. It should be noted, however, that any coherence should be realistic, specific, based on market demand and sustainable responsible development. These organizations often play an important intermediary role, necessary to foster cooperation between the parties as well as providing technical advice and assistance on specific areas of expertise.

5. Recommendations, suggestions:

To meet the requirements of tourism development in the coming period, Vietnam should make a strong statement on the policy of development about sustainable responsible tourism. Responsible tourism aims to achieve three key results of sustainable development: economic growth, the sustainable environment and social justice.

Responsible tourism policies and implementation plans need to be developed for each tourist area and each destination simultaneously. Each region will have its own priorities.

All partners need to work together and maximize their role in the realization of the declaration of responsible tourism development.

The core issues for responsible tourism development should include the following:

Professional development of human resources related to tourism;

Well-managed negative impacts of tourism on society and environment,;

Improve tourism management at cultural heritage sites;

Development of tourism products and services for poverty reduction;

Promoting the development and marketing of responsible tourism products;

Facilitate the travel of international and domestic tourists;

Promoting private sector investment and public-private partnerships;

Development of infrastructure relating to tourism.

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