Vietnam looks toward green tourism development. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Green Lotus (Bong sen xanh) label was awarded to 33 hotels and guesthouses nationwide in recognition of their meeting standards on environmental protection, heritage conservation and contribution to local economic growth, it was reported at a conference held in Hanoi on November 19.

The label, issued by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2012 targeting tourism accommodations, is a set of 81 criteria and is graded from one to five green lotuses.

This year, five-lotus label was given to 8 hotels, while 12 achieved four-lotus label and 11 earned the three-lotus recognition. Two hotels acquired the one-lotus standards.

Most of the winners of four- and five-lotus label carry out environmental protection in a professional way. In addition to providing training courses and documents for staff, they set up websites to update information and regulations on environment conservation for each service. Applying new technology and using renewable energy are also among their efforts to reduce negative impacts on the environment.

However, there exist some headwinds when carrying out the Green Lotus label programme, including insufficient expenditure for assessment work, lack of participants as the label is awarded on a voluntary basis and out-of-date criteria.

At the conference, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ngo Hoai Chung highlighted the necessity to fine-tune the set of criteria and issue legal regulations to establish the role of the label.

The tourism sector needs to enhance communication activities to raise the accommodations’ awareness on environment protection, Chung said.

He added that relevant agencies should promote cooperation in examining and inspecting environment protection activities in tourist accommodations.

On the occasion, Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, Hue Pilgrimage Village - boutique resort and spa and Ho Chi Minh City’s Dong Khoi Hotel shared their experience in investment, construction and operation of green hotels in accordance with Green Lotus label criteria.-VNA