The ancient capital city of Hue in the central region is considered the pioneer in the development of green tourism. However, the tourism model is facing a lot of challenges.
Green hotels cannot be developed
The Saigon-Morin Hotel was the first hotel in Hue City which applied the green development model. It uses environment friendly electrical equipments, reuses materials, flowers, fabric made products. Here at the hotels, leaflets and notes are put in every room, encouraging travelers to protect the environment.
The model followed by Saigon-Morin once attracted the special attention from hotel developers, who considered this as a new way of branding.
However, in the last four years, the model has not been followed by any other hotels.
Tran Viet Luc, a senior official of the Thua Thien-Hue provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, has attributed to the sharp increases in the number of tourists, which has led to the sustainable development in a massive scale of accommodation services.
There are 535 accommodations with 17,000 rooms in Thua Thien-Hue. Meanwhile, the Festival 2012 holiday alone gathered 180,000 travelers, including 80,000 foreigners, to the city.
A senior executive of Festival Hue Hotel said that the occupancy rate is always at 80-100 percent in high season. Therefore, it is not an easy task to save energy and call on travelers to protect the environment.
At present, whether to join the green development program is not compulsory. The local authorities have prohibited building hotels on the banks of Huong River in order to protect the river environment. Meanwhile, the regulations relating to the energy consumption and the waste treatment system have not been mentioned.
Green tours would be no greener when sponsored project finishes
Apart from heritage tourism, community tourism projects which have been carried out with the sponsor by non-governmental organizations have also been developing well.
However, the community tourism, which is considered the “specialty of Hue,” is in the danger of coming to an end when the sponsored projects finish.
Especially, the six community ecotourism tours developed by RTG Group under the sponsor of SNV, are in the high danger.
With the destinations being the rural areas, such as the Phuoc Tich ancient village, Tam Giang lagoon or the old battle field A Luoi, or the Cau Ngoi Thanh Toan village, the material facilities and human resources are the two key factors to develop the community tours.
During the project implementation, some infrastructure items were built with an aim to encourage enterprises to join the programs. And once the projects finish, enterprises would find it unable to maintain the tours, because they do not have money for further investments.
Some other projects on developing community tourism have also been carried out, including the pilot project on community tourism development in Cau Ngoi Thanh Toan village, sponsored by JICA. Under the projects, the 1-2 year supervision programs would run to protect the results of the projects.
However, the projects have been implemented at just some households and benefiting small groups of people. Meanwhile, the programs to connect destination points, connect tours and develop infrastructure still have been relying on the investments by local authorities.
Luc has emphasised that green growth and green tourism development would be one of the most important points in the overall plan on developing tourism in Thua Thien-Hue province.
However, Luc admitted that the local authorities would only set up the strategies and the ways to follow, while they could not spend money to make investment.