Sustainable tourism development goes along with digital transformation

Vietnam tourism aims to become a safe, friendly and attractive destination for international tourists. To do that, the government has promulgated many policies to develop the tourism industry, especially the orientation of sustainable development and digital transformation in tourism.
Sustainable tourism development goes along with digital transformation
Sustainable tourism development attaches with digitization - Photo: Pygathrix nigripes, rare animal species lives in Nui Chua biosphere reserves. (Photo: VNA)

Sustainable tourism development

Tourism is an integrated economic sector whose development affects the growth of all economic, social and cultural fields, especially associated with the existence and development of natural resources and environment. Therefore, sustainable tourism development is an inevitable trend that Vietnam must take into account.

According to Clause 14, Article 3 of the Law on Tourism 2017, Sustainable tourism development is the development of tourism that simultaneously meets socio-economic and environmental requirements, ensuring the harmony of interests of all objects participating in tourism activities, without compromising the ability to meet tourism demand in the future.

In fact, Vietnam is a country with many advantages in sustainable tourism development. Vietnam has a system of 11 world biosphere reserves recognized by UNESCO and more than 30 national parks, including 10 famous ASEAN heritage parks with almost intact ecosystems, along with diversity and outstanding population values, is of particular importance.

Vietnam ranks 27th among 156 countries having sea in the world with 125 beaches, most of them are beautiful beaches, especially Da Nang beach has been voted by Forbes Magazine as one of the 6 most attractive beaches in the world. Additionally, Vietnam also has two bays on the list of the most beautiful bays in the world - Ha Long Bay and Nha Trang Bay.

Over the years, tourism activities in Vietnam have focused on developing towards sustainable tourism with many resorts received the international green certificates of EarthCheck and Green Growth 2050.

Some places in Vietnam that have achieved green certificates include: Banyan Tree Lang Co resort, Caravelle Saigon Hotel; Angsana Lang Co (EarthCheck Gold Certification); Avani Quy Nhon Resort, Anantara Mui Ne Resort and Spa, Harbor View Hotel Hai Phong, Anantara Hoi An Resort (Gold certification of Green Growth 2050).

Besides, respecting the local community is also a top concern of Vietnam. As defined in Clause 15, Article 3 of the Law on Tourism 2017: “Community based tourism is a type of tourism developed on the basis of the cultural values ​​of the community, managed and exploited and benefited by the local community”.

In Vietnam, many models of community-based tourism have developed quite successfully. The Northwest mountainous region has a large number of ethnic minorities living in Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Hoa Binh, and Quang Ninh; some central provinces such as Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Binh Dinh; the Central Highlands provinces such as Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum; Southern provinces such as Can Tho, Dong Thap, An Giang, Kien Giang and many other localities have had many good and highly effective community-based tourism models.

These models not only promote the strengths of indigenous culture and natural landscapes, but also contribute to poverty alleviation and improve the lives of many local people.

In 2020, the Prime Minister approved the "Strategy to develop Vietnam's tourism to 2030" with specific development orientations towards green growth, responsibility to environment and society. Particularly, an issue that needs paying attention for sustainable development is "Digital transformation in tourism".

Digitalization in tourism

Directive No.16/CT-TTg dated May 4, 2017 signed by Prime Minister on strengthening the capacity to access the industrial revolution 4.0 has clearly stated that tourism is one of the priority sectors to develop the digital transformation strategy, information technology application. This is an important policy orientation for Vietnam to develop smart tourism on a digital basis.

In that spirit, National Administration of Tourism has focused on constructing a foundation for digital transformation in the industry. Up to now, a database of international travel agencies, tour guides, tourist accommodation establishments, tourist areas, destinations and tourist data statistical systems has been formed. Coordinating with stakeholders to develop applications that connect the management information system from the central to the local and advanced technology applications to serve tourists.

Sustainable tourism development goes along with digital transformation
Hoi An ancient town – a screenshot from the video clip "Vietnam - Going to love". (Source: Đảng Cộng sản)

In early 2021, the National Administration of Tourism (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) launched a promotion campaign on Youtube - "Vietnam: Going to love" to stimulate domestic tourism. Visual experiences posted on Youtube have attracted millions of views and created great effects for promotional activities.

Additionally, the National Administration of Tourism also cooperated with Google Group (US) to organize the online exhibition "Wonders of Vietnam" with 1.369 artistic photos of Vietnam’s beautiful scenes, promoting the image of Vietnam to travelling lovers around the world. This is considered a breakthrough of Vietnamese tourism in the application of digital technology to promote to domestic and international tourists.

The digital transformation has brought about a new apperance for Vietnam's tourism, when a series of localities, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Da Nang, etc. digitizing destinations with a 360-degree image interface, 3D, virtual reality technology, supporting the application of interactive QR code technology at visiting sites, museums, and monuments, etc.

Notably, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation. Localities and tourism businesses also actively register, regularly self-assess and update to the national Covid-19 safety system, deploying the application "Safe Vietnam tourism".

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism is developing a remarkable policy in the development of smart tourism and digital tourism, making recommendations to relevant ministries and sectors to develop and implement policies to meet synchronous requirements to develop smart tourism and digital tourism nationwide. At the same time, it will develop and implement a digital tourism development project, short-term and long-term plans, and by 2045, implement the task of digital tourism development.

It can be seen that tourism digitization contributes to improving the effectiveness of promotion through promoting marketing by technology; increase the attractiveness of tourism products, improve the quality of tourists' experience at the destination, promote the quality of tourism services, and develop the destination.

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(Translated by Gia Nguyen)