Honourable Mention Community Based Tourism Initiative
The Northern Vietnam Community Based Tourism project is a collaboration of several organizations that make up the overall initiative. It is led by the School of Tourism at Capilano University in association with Hanoi Open University, and the ethnic hill tribe communities of Taphin, TaVan, and Lao Chai in the trekking region of Sapa. The Capilano University School of Tourism lies within the Faculty of Global and Community Studies. Some of the guiding principles of the Faculty are to connect from global to local levels in all facets of learning, demonstrate leadership in stewardship and sustainability, place emphasis on healthy communities and good governance, and actively engage and pursue social entrepreneurship. We have also had the support of the PATA Foundation to run this project for the past five years.
The overall goal of the work has been to provide practical tourism training for three ethnic minority communities (Tavan, Taphin and Lao Chai) to reduce poverty, create employment opportunities, and improve quality of life. The key objectives have been as follows:
• To create healthy business operations for several independent family or individual owners;
• To create social enterprises in the villages to share benefits of tourism
• To build active business partnerships with appropriate values based external tourism operators where mutual benefit results
• To facilitate quality and good value tourist experiences in the villages;
• To generate fiscal resources to sustain and enhance tourist products;
• To improve environmental quality in alignment with the development of tourism in the communities.
When Capilano University and Hanoi Open University were first invited into the villages of Taphin and Tavan in 2002 to begin the work of helping generate sustainable tourism, Sapa was just emerging as a destination and very few visitors were coming to the remote, ethnic minority villages. We were challenged to help locals understand what tourism was, what the perspectives of the visitors were, and to help build skills in a culture based solely on subsistence agriculture and minor trade for hundreds of years. The only way to achieve this was through exceptionally high levels of consultation, community engagement, and relationship building. Details of the work and outcomes are described in following sections of this submission.
For more information: CBT Vietnam website