The Prime Minister approved the extension of the EU-funded Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme till November 10, 2016.

He assigned leader of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism to sign the Appendix No.1 of the Vietnam-EU financial agreement on the programme with the EU’s authorised representative.

The ministry is also responsible for ensuring the progress of the project which aims to mainstream responsible tourism principles into Vietnam’s tourism sector with a view to enhancing its competitiveness and realising the socio-economic development plan.

The project’s contents include providing support to the Tourism Skill Advisory Council, expanding community-based training for tour guides and specialist training for teachers and managers, among others.

Featuring in Vietnam’s tourism strategy for 2020, responsible tourism aims to protect and care for diverse cultures and the environment whilst optimising business processes and ensuring economic sustainability.

By mid-2013, the programme had helped develop a policy framework outlining guidelines and concrete measures. Later on, the green lotus label for tourist accommodation was launched and adaptations were made to Vietnam’s tourism occupational standards.

More travel operators are embracing the practices of responsible tourism, including electricity and water savings, waste treatment, sourcing food locally and providing job opportunities for disadvantaged members of society, including women and ethnic minorities.-VNA