The European Union (EU) will provide 11 million EUR for a five-year environment and society responsible tourism (ESRT) development programme in Vietnam .

A ceremony to announce the finance agreement for the country’s largest tourism technical assistance project was organised in Hanoi on Jan. 14 in the presence of Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan, and Head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam, Ambassador Sean Doyle.

The Vietnamese Government will contribute around 1 million EUR to the programme that will be carried out by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

The project is designed to step up the provision of ESRT services during the 2011-2015 period, thereby supporting the implementation of the Vietnam Tourism Development Strategy.

It will focus on building policy and institutions, improving competitiveness and public-private partnership, and promoting education and vocational training.

Officials of VNAT, provincial-level tourism managers, associations, civil organisations and communities will benefit from the programme.

EU is one of the biggest donors of non-refundable aid for the country’s tourism sector. The ESRT programme was built based on the success of another EU-funded tourism human resources development project, which was carried out from 2004 to February 2010./.