Boosting tourism should go along with protecting the environment, Lê Quang Tùng, deputy minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism, said at the Green Tourism Forum.
The forum kicked off Việt Nam International Travel Mart (VITM), the biggest annual event of the Vietnamese tourism industry, yesterday in Hà Nội with the participation of travel agents, managers and foreign agencies.
It is aimed at sharing experiences towards building sustainable green tourism.
“In recent years, we have seen rapid development of the Vietnamese tourism industry, which has gradually been taking the role as a key economic sector of the country,” said Tùng. “However to reach the goal, there are still many challenges to overcome for both State management and businesses. One of the challenges is developing tourism while preserving natural and cultural resources.”
“The Government always directs firms to develop tourism sustainably and with quality and professionalism,” he said.
This year, VITM is focused on green tourism.
Vũ Thế Bình, permanent vice president of the Việt Nam Tourism Association, organiser of the event, said green tourism will be approached from the angles of research and the practices of enterprises.
“Green tourism is a type of tourism which operates in such ways that minimises its impact on the environment, actively contributes to biodiversity protection, causes low emissions and uses renewable energy,” he said. “Green tourism also preserves and promotes cultural heritage and develops environmentally friendly products.”
Speaking at the event Ambassador of Spain to Việt Nam Jesus Piga Lopez Palop said green tourism plays an important part in sustainable tourism development.
“Being a foreigner and a tourist in Việt Nam, I acknowledge the development of the national tourism industry,” she said.
“In Spain, tourism has been one of the most important factors of the economy since 1960. So, I find many similarities between Vietnamese and Spanish tourism.
“Both of the countries have big potential and rapid development, but we also made mistakes by destroying part of the beauty of our coast line. Economic growth is important but what we destroyed will never come back.”
She mentioned “protected spaces” in Spain where environmental rules are very and suggested Việt Nam adopt a similar model.
VITM opened yesterday, attracted many visitors seeking discounted tour packages and air tickets.
VITM 2019 includes road shows and programmes to introduce destinations at home and abroad, an international street food festival, signing ceremonies for several co-operation deals and art performances.
It is expected that more than 32,000 tour packages and 20,000 air tickets will be sold at the event. Vice chairman Bình estimated it will attract 85,000 visitors this year. Last year, it received 80,000.