Travel Travel

04/03/2022 - 08:52

Green connection for tourism development

The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe consequences on global tourism. As the pandemic has been under control, and many countries have reopened their borders, tourism started to restore.

Hue is the destination for both cultural tourism and discovery-experience tourism

According to the estimation of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), there are four tourism trends in a post-pandemic world, including touchless tourism, staycation, medical tourism, and travelling towards isolated and little visited places. These trends will shape the future of global tourism, at least until the pandemic is over.

In this regard, where there are potentials and strengths, and with a variety of services that meet these trends, there will be opportunities for sustainable tourism recovery and development.

Thua Thien Hue is such a destination.

New tourism trends

Prior to the pandemic outbreak, changes were silently made and had strong impacts on tourism in Thua Thien Hue province. Those changes were presented in target visitors, tourist destinations, modes of transportation, and consumption habits of visitors.

Previously, visitors to Hue were usually adults, travelling in groups, and choosing one-to-two-day package tours provided by travel agencies. They mainly visited historical and cultural relics in Hue.

Recently, visitors to Hue have been mainly young people travelling in smaller groups and choosing the accommodation flexibly. They tend to see fewer historical and cultural relics and to try out new and little visited check-in destinations. They set their own itinerary and travel to the destinations on their own in short trips, which sometimes last for half a day.

One reason behind this is that Hue has recently become the magnet for many filmmakers who chose it to be the setting for many feature films, TV series, music videos, etc. that are shown in cinemas, on television, online media platforms, and social networks. Through these films, many people, especially young people, realize that there is another lively and attractive Hue, other than the mossy walls, ancient temples, and solitary tombs, they have known before.

Furthermore, some destinations previously quiet and little known such as Ru Cha mangrove, Khe Ngang lake, Chuon lagoon, and Lap An lagoon, etc., have recently become well-known thanks to photos, tweets, statuses, and posts by the locals, who happened to discover these places. They have been spreading on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and inspired social network users, making them desire to visit these places to discover, or just to check-in, get some photos and share them on social networks, just like others.

These trends have turned Hue into a destination with pervasive power for young people and domestic visitors. While international tourism has been affected by the pandemic, Thua Thien Hue has remained a "green zone" and has been relatively safe for almost two years.

According to the statistics of travel websites, the list of famous tourist destinations in Thua Thien Hue is always added and updated. It is from the "13 interesting check-in destinations in Hue" published on Chudu43.com, to the “17 attractive Hue tourist destinations” on Dulichkhampha24.com, and the “31 must-see destinations when travelling to Hue” on Traveloka.com, etc., with beautiful illustrated photos, concise introductions, and lively comments.

In this hot trend list of tourist attractions, on top of traditional destinations such as the Imperial Citadel, tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors, etc., and religion - belief relics such as Thien Mu pagoda, Huyen Khong pagoda, Phu Cam church, and Hon Chen palace, etc., many destinations which were previously little known have now been on many people’s bucket list, including Ru Cha mangrove , Lap An lagoon, Khe Ngang lake, Truoi lake, Thien An hill, the “lonely” tree in the “Dreamy Eyes” movie, and the incense-making village in Thuy Xuan ward, etc.

This indicates that Hue is now a destination for both cultural tourism and discovery - experience tourism. Instead of only visiting the ancient Hue royal monuments with certain routes, travelling on crowded means of transport, with traditional attractions filled with people, visitors have recently travelled throughout Hue in small groups to visit monuments, landscapes and "hot" locations just appearing in movies, discover the locals’ daily life and explore culture and enjoy unique cuisine in Hue.

Green connection for sustainable tourism development

Green tourism is now the choice of visitors, which is also the criterion targeted by the tourism sector. The four estimated tourism trends mentioned above are to fulfill the green tourism demands of visitors in a post-pandemic context.

Many Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, and many localities in the country such as Phu Quoc, Can Gio, Hoi An and Ha Long, have piloted the "travel bubble" model, which is a closed green tourism one, welcoming international visitors to these places.

Thua Thien Hue has sufficient facilities and capabilities to implement green tourism in order to gradually reopen tourism and restore the tourism industry in the province. Thus, the provincial tourism industry needs to choose the Green Connection as a direction for future tourism development. It is the connection of four factors, including green destinations, green journeys, green people and green services to create green tourism products.

Green destinations are the safe ones, which minimizes the risk of infection within the destinations. They are also the eco-friendly and natural ones. Destinations such as Ru Cha mangrove, Lap An lagoon, Khe Ngang lake, Truoi lake, Thien An hill and Thuy Tien lake are the "emerging" green destinations, with a special attraction to visitors.

Green journey, which is a system of tours/routes linking green destinations, is designed and operated by tourism operators. It also gives individual visitors opportunity to enjoy the tours on their own, by providing information via media and social networks.

Green people include visitors, guides and tourism service providers at the accommodation, destinations, transportation and culinary services in green tourism. They are "really safe" people (who have been vaccinated with two or three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, who have not contacted confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients and who have applied the 5K prevention measures). .

Green services ensure the safety of pandemic prevention and control and the food safety and hygiene in entire services included in the green tourism. Particularly, the accommodation, means of transport and food service locations are all located in the "green zone" upon levels of pandemic control measures provided by functional organizations. Green services serve delicious, clean and safe food.

The global tourism industry is taking exploratory steps towards reopening tourism so as to meet the increasing travel demands of visitors who have spent almost two years “staying at home” due to the pandemic. Thua Thien Hue’s potentials and new favorable factors will be advantages to implement green tourism, restore tourism and develop sustainably in the future.

Story: Tran Huyen

Photo: Truong Vung

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