Today: 26/11/2020 10:51:51 (GMT+7)

Developing community-based tourism: Awakening the potential of An Lac

(BGO) – Community-based tourism is a type of ecological and cultural tourism that the community and people are organizers, managers and beneficiaries. In Bac Giang, the model was implemented in An Lac commune (Son Dong district), but the tapping of strengths and potential to form community-based tourism models here is not clear.

A myriad of difficulties

Realising that Son Dong district has huge potential to develop community-based tourism, in 2014, the provincial People's Committee issued a project on community-based tourism development in Bac Giang province in the 2014-2020 period. 

Bac Giang province, community-based tourism, An Lac commune, ecological and cultural tourism, huge potential, investment capital,

The provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism organizes a survey at the Khe Ro tourist area in An Lac commune (Son Dong district) in May 2019.

The investment capital was estimated at over 41 billion VND (1.76 million USD), with 20 billion VND coming from the state budget and the rest from social sources.

From the support sources, An Lac commune has built a community house; households have been equipped with winter blankets, mosquito-nets, televisions, disc readers, sound amplifiers, and toilets... 

At the same time, the commune has developed thee websites to promote tourism and improve professional activities, and organized training courses and experience-learning trips for participating households.

An Lac commune ever received the support of non-governmental organizations to develop community-based tourism, but the maintenance and enhancement of the efficiency of this model face many difficulties.

At present, there remains only the An Lac Community-based Tourism Cooperative, which was established in 2012. From 20 members, now the cooperative has only 5 member households. Because the cooperative does not have enough accommodation conditions, tourists only come and leave in the day.

Since the beginning of this year, the Khe Ro tourist area (An Lac) has welcomed about 5,000 visitors. The number of tourists increased over the years but they were mostly domestic holidaymakers, with few days of stay and low spending. 

The main reasons are inconvenient roads and lack of typical tourism products. Most of the units operating in the field of tourism in the province are currently small in scale and have not yet developed inner-province tours.

People are organizers

To change that situation, since early September 2018, three households including: Vu Ngoc Huan, Nguyen Van Tu and Dang Thi Hien (all are Tay ethnic people, and members of the cooperative) in Na O village have invested in upgrading facilities and preparing accommodation conditions to serve tourists.

Bac Giang province, community-based tourism, An Lac commune, ecological and cultural tourism, huge potential, investment capital,

Da Nang tourists experience then singing and dan tinh (handmade gourd lute) performance at Vu Ngoc Huan's family in Na O village, An Lac commune (Son Dong district).

Huan borrowed more than 900 million VND (38,650 USD) to build houses, parking area and green campus, and upgrade toilets. The works are expected to be completed in July 2019, meeting the accommodation needs of 30-40 tourists at the same time.

Vu Ngoc Huan, Director of An Lac Community-based Tourism Cooperative, said that the cooperative still maintains the activities of the then singing and dan tinh (handmade gourd lute) performance team, provide locals with skills to receive tourists, and persuade them to preserve the typical language and clothes of the Tay ethnic group.

Tran Van Dung, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said: "In the coming time, the department will advise the provincial People's Committee to build a more systematic tourism plan with solutions to turn the local cultural strengths into specific tourism products. It will provide support through organizing training courses on skills to host tourists, and guiding people how to ensure the quality of catering, accommodation and entertainment services to meet demand and lure visitors back. The agency will also coordinate with the Son Dong district People's Committee to promote and introduce specialty products".

In particular, the households themselves also need skills to host visitors, prepare dishes and introduce local cuisine. To make community-based tourism really sustainable, the local Party Committees and authorities, as well as relevant departments and agencies need to survey and evaluate fully and in detail the potential and strengths; and connect tours and tourism routes suitably. 

Based on that, they should build a tourist plan and map, and launch more reasonable support policies to call for investment.

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Bac Giang province, community-based tourism, An Lac commune, ecological and cultural tourism, huge potential, investment capital,
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