Community-Based Tourism Development

COHED provided technical and financial support to the communal local authority and villagers to build up the communal tourism service system, which has provided a high quality tourism service for more than 100 domestic and international tourists over the first four months of 2013.

Contextualisation

Mai Hich is a community-based tourism project, which began in 2011 and is now running into its third year. The community-based tourism project is a sustainable livelihood component of an integrated community development programme, implemented by  COHED and funded by Misereor and Brotfür die Welt (Bread for the World). Mai Hich commune is located in Mai Chau valley (Hoa Binh province, Vietnam). Mai Chau valley is 130 km from Hanoi city and is a popular destination for hundreds of thousands of local and foreign tourists each year. Mai Hich commune and Mai Chau valley are enriched with the fascinating indigenous cultures of the Thai and Muong ethnic populations as well as the regions beautiful mountainous landscape and special local food.

This project aims to help poor rural Thai ethnic households in Mai Hich commune improve their standard of living by sustainably utilizing the available resources of the area. This project creates income generation activities for households in Mai Hich commune, such as conducting guided tours, providing homestayaccommodation, food, stores as well as brocade weaving and safe vegetable planting.

Highlights of COHED’s work in community-based tourism for poverty reduction

COHED provided technical and financial support to the communal local authority and villagers to build up the communal tourism service system, which has provided a high quality tourism service for more than 100 domestic and international tourists over the first four months of 2013.

COHED acts as the manager of all tourism products (including marketing), yet is currently building the capacity of the local Tourism Board of Management to self-manage in the long run. There is a wide range of tourism products in Mai Hich communes which include:

·         High-quality homestay services with the capacity to accommodate 46 people per night at three traditional stilt houses with an interesting mix between dormitory style and private rooms

·         Traditional dance performances, lasting over one hour, presenting different ethnic dances that are professionally composed and performed

·         Bicycle tours with a picturesque route through villages and paddy fields

·         Provision of souvenir and specialty shops

·         Future product: A cave in the locality is being considered as a location for candle-lit dinners and a herbal spa, as well as a honeymoon suite in the inner part of the cave. Pre-wedding arrangements here could become a focus of the domestic tourist market.

Community-based tourism development is an important aspect of COHED’s sustainable community development strategy and COHED’s future plan is to replicate the success of the Mai Hich tourism development intervention in other poor, disadvantaged and climate change vulnerable areas throughout Vietnam.

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