Locals are picking lotuses in Dong Thap (Photo: Vietnamnet)

Dong Thap (VNA) – Famers in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap not only grow fruit trees for a living but are also tour guides in their own gardens.

Their new way of doing business has helped diversify the local tourism sector and attracted tourists yearning for eco-holidays.

Nguyen Van Day, a member of Lai Vung tangerine cooperative, just opened a 1.5-hectare Lan Anh orchard for visitors in Long Hau commune, the sixth of its kind in Lai Vung district.

Tickets to enter these gardens cost 50,000 VND (2.2 USD) per adult and half price per kid.

Le Van Ngot, in My Hoa commune, Thap Muoi district, said tourism services around his 4-hectare lotus plantation bring profits between two and three times higher than from selling lotuses.

Earlier this year, villager Tran Thanh Hung put into operation the first home-stay facility in Sa Dec city. The facility is located on his 3,000-m2 flower garden, where he also raises frogs.

Eco-farm tourism also emerged in Cao Lanh city in 2017, welcoming about two groups of tourists every week since the beginning of the year. Many local households have invested hundreds of millions VND in tourism infrastructure in their gardens.

Ngo Quang Tuyen, deputy head of the Dong Thap Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said in the three day New Year holiday earlier this year, eco-tours at tangerine gardens in Lai Vung and flower farms in Sa Dec lured approximately 76,000 visitors to the province, up 3.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

Local authorities have implemented policies to encourage farmers to invest in eco-tourism. 50 million VND (2,217 USD) from the provincial budget is earmarked to support the construction of each home-stay facility capable of accommodating between 30 and 49 guests, while facilities accommodating 50 guests and more receive 60 million VND (2,661 USD) each. Restaurants on areas from 200 sq.m with capacity for 100 guests and above and major shopping malls are eligible for financial assistance of 500,000 VND (22 USD) per square metre.-VNA