Contemporary Challenges for Ecotourism in Vietnam

Neil Lipscombe, Richard Thwaites

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    With a rapidly growing domestic and international tourism industry, the government of Vietnam has taken a number of tourism-related initiatives since early 1999. These include the issuing of an Ordinance on Tourism, which provides the legal and policy foundations for developing tourism with due regard for conserving biodiversity and ensuring social, cultural, and environmental sustainability, and the proposal to revise the existing Tourism Development Master Plan to produce a Tourism Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development in Vietnam. Through these initiatives the government of Vietnam has moved towards planning the management of tourism to ensure sustainable outcomes, and ecotourism and cultural tourism have been proposed as preferred tourism development options. One destination focus of this preferred tourism option is the protected area system of Vietnam. This article presents a series of themes as key areas for discussion, to assist Vietnam as it endeavors to assess the current proposed Tourism Master Plan (2001-2010) as a means of achieving national development objectives. A month-long ecotourism training workshop for protected area managers was held in Hanoi in February-March 2000. Through this workshop, four primary themes were identified as presenting major challenges for those with responsibility to balance conservation with increasing tourist visitation: the structure and administration of the protected area system, tourism infrastructure, providing for the needs of local communities, and effective communication across all relevant stakeholders. This article explores these challenges based on the review of a range of in-house reports and documents, the recorded views of Vietnamese government officials, academics, and protected area managers, discussions with and surveys of workshop participants, and visits to a number of national parks and tourist locations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-35
    Number of pages13
    JournalTourism Review International: an international journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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