Vu Thi Ngoc Huong always begins her virtual tours like this. Today she introduces visitors to the beauty of the untouched Y Linh Ho village in San Sa Ho commune, as well as traditional costumes and musical instruments of the Mong ethnic minority.

This is the fifth online tour Huong has organised since July. She has held trekking tours to Mong village in Lao Chai and the Muong Hoa Valley, and tours to discover ancient rocks and hot springs in Ho village. Each tour costs 50,000 VND (2.2 USD) per visitor, and are held every Sunday morning.

Instead of the usual popular destinations like the town centre, Cat Cat village, and Ham Rong village, Hướng takes her visitors on virtual tours to discover Giáy ethnic minority culture or to experience the Wednesday fair in Sín Chéng commune - Si Ma Cai district. She believes that her signature experiences maintain her guests’ enthusiasm during the one and a half hour tours.

Huong’s online tours are also significant since they create jobs for local people.

Offering virtual tours to anyone from the comfort of their homes - an initiative of this 22-year-old woman - is a new way for the tourism industry to survive during COVID-19.

Born and bred in Sa Pa, Huong, who has graduated from the Hanoi University, has seen how tourism developed so quickly in her hometown. She wants to share its hidden charm with local and foreign friends and inspire local people to preserve the traditional identity. The Giay ethnic minority woman has developed her virtual tours from her passion for Sa Pa./.