Can Tho advised to apply national community-based tourism strategy hinh anh 1Foreign tourists to Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho (Photo: VNA)

Can Tho (VNA) – A UNESCO representative recommended the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho apply the national strategy for community-based tourism development during a working session with the municipal People’s Committee on December 14.

Vice Chairwoman of the committee Vo Thi Hong Anh said as a driving force for the Mekong Delta, Can Tho has witnessed rapid urbanisation over the last decade, which has affected its cultural identity and natural landscapes – major tourist attractions in this city.

Can Tho has worked to establish itself as an ecological – cultural – tourism city. It wants to combine urbanisation with eco-tourism to ensure sustainable tourism, she said, adding that it also preserves architectural and artistic relics and intangible cultural heritage.

However, Can Tho faces many difficulties in tourism due to modest funds, manpower quality and experience. It is looking to balance economic development and environmental protection with an aim to become the first eco-city in the Mekong Delta, Anh noted.

Pham Thi Thanh Huong from UNESCO Vietnam’s cultural research division said a UNESCO survey shows that most visitors to the country do not look for modern tourism services, but want to explore Vietnam’s unique cultural identities and local customs.

Can Tho is on the right path by focusing on eco-tourism and helping tourists experience local culture. But lax coordination among local authorities, residents and travel agencies has limited tourism activities’ effectiveness, she said.

She advised the city to apply the national strategy for community-based tourism development, which is designed by UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. 

The model focuses on training and assisting local residents and businesses to improve service quality. Families strong at making handicrafts, farming special plant varieties and animal breeds, or cooking traditional dishes will also be supported with communication and financial management skills and knowledge about optimising tourism products, she added.

UNESCO Vietnam will work with the Can Tho administration to orient the city’s development towards green industry, clean agriculture and eco-tourism, Huong said, hoping that Can Tho will soon become the first eco-city in the Mekong Delta.-VNA