A coherent long-term strategy is needed to fully tap the potential of agri-tourism development, experts from the sector have declared.

According to Ngo Kieu Oanh, who runs a farm catering for tourists in Hanoi’s outlying district of Ba Vi, in order to expand this area of tourism, Vietnamese leaders must introduce clear policies. These should preserve traditional farming villages, provide financial support for skills training and publicity campaigns, and develop standards and a trademark for the sector, she argued.

Tran Thi Viet Huong, Communication and Promotion Manager at Vietravel, highlighted the need for investment in the sector and a connection between farmers, local authorities and tourist agencies.

She cited the successful example of Saigontourist, which has worked with Lam Dong province to offer tree planting tours attracting crowds of international visitors.

Vietnam is an agricultural country with more than 70 percent of its population living in rural areas. It also has a diversity of cultures, traditions and ecosystems.

Despite the potential, there are only two sites of agri-tourism in Hanoi. Besides Oanh’s farm, the other is the ancient village of Duong Lam, where tourists can try their hands at rice harvesting, fish catching and take rural photo shoots.

Farming tourism helps create jobs and improve living conditions for local residents, while raising awareness about protecting and upholding local traditional values, said Pham Hung Son, head of Duong Lam’s relic site management board.

The service has been particularly developed in the mountainous northern provinces of Son La, Lao Cai and Lai Chau, where tourists can enjoy the spectacular scenery of terraced rice fields.

They can also enjoy a taste of river life in the Mekong Delta or experience vegetable growing in central Hoi An town.-VNA