Fostering Countryside Tourism to Sustain Rural Development

9:36:53 AM | 11/19/2021

Countryside tourism development in the National Target Program for New Rural Development in 2021-2025 is defined as one of the driving forces that create jobs and increase incomes for people, promote rural economic restructuring, preserve traditional cultural values ​​and protect the environment.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam currently has more than 1,300 tourist sites and attractions, about 70% of which are countryside attractions. However, not all are working effectively, especially as the COVID-19 epidemic is heavily impacting the tourism sector. In order to energize rural tourism, the project on the development of rural tourism services coupled with new rural construction in line with the approach of the new rural development program in 2021 - 2025 was submitted to the Prime Minister by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. In the coming time, if the project is approved, it will be the basis for obtaining specific mechanisms and policies for rural tourism development.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam said that rural tourism is a trend that needs to be exploited effectively. What needs to be done is to connect and promote products for localities. Rural tourism models are very diverse but must have common characteristics, which must be humanistic, cultural and locally distinctive.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet said tourism companies, regardless of scale, across the country are ready to develop national tourism. Developing rural tourism requires a well-prepared investment. Rural agricultural tourism needs to utilize resources allocated by the National Target Program for New Rural Development. Tourism businesses need to invest in digital transformation, capacity building and connectivity for farmers to develop rural tourism.

Currently, many travel agencies are organizing agricultural tours, bringing visitors to agricultural areas featuring the space, landscape and culture of the Vietnamese countryside. Supporting tourism services are increasingly diversified and creative, including healthcare services with local herbs, traditional festivals, foods and drinks and seasonal landscape photography. Countryside tourism has actively helped the tourism industry as well as agriculture and rural development. Specifically, it has helped create identity and uniqueness of Vietnamese tourism products and destinations, establish new tours and expand tourism space. It has brought a lot of socioeconomic benefits to many localities, such as diversifying rural industries, creating jobs and incomes for people, and at the same time preserving and promoting rural traditional cultural values.

Mr. Nguyen Minh Tien, Chief of the Central Office for the National Target Program for New Rural Development, said that effective rural tourism development will help sustain rural development, improve incomes and livelihoods of rural people, and enhance the quality of new rural development. Rural tourism development was defined by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as one of the fundamental solutions and driving forces for sustainable rural development.

Effective countryside tourism will help develop tourism into a key economic sector and sustain new rural construction.

Rural development is also the foundation for diversified and sustainable tourism development. However, at present, countryside tourism development remains weak, incommensurate with existing potential. Local countryside tourism products are not unique, while tourists are mainly domestic. A province has 500-1,000 countryside tourism workers, accounting for only about 5-15% of total tourism workers, two-thirds of whom are indirect workers. Countryside tourism is mainly spontaneous, fragmented and small-scale, primarily provided by businesses, households and cooperative groups.

To develop countryside tourism, there is a need for consistent guidelines, mechanisms and policies from central to local levels (especially policies on land management, infrastructure, tourism management, support for countryside tourism, traffic management, residence and tourism value chain). At the same time, it is necessary to develop a map of countryside tourism, which indicates areas capable of developing locally distinctive tourism products. Tourism products must ensure three factors: diversity, uniqueness and added value. Locally specific tourism products need to be promoted for development.

By Minh Ngoc, Vietnam Business Forum