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Dinh Vu


Last updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018


Aligning Relic Conservation with Tourism Development

Posted: Monday, July 17, 2017

People tend to be interested in exploring and studying differences in culture, history and nature, and history-based tourism development has become more attractive than ever. However, that poses a hard nut to crack for authorities and tourism businesses: How to develop tourism while preserving historical relics?

Rich heritage draws tourists
Vietnam has a diverse culture with eight world heritage sites recognised by the Unesco, including cultural, natural and mixed heritages; seven intangible cultural heritages of humanity; two intangible cultural heritages in need of special protection, and four record heritages. Besides, the country has 34 special national monuments and over 3,000 national monuments, treasures, relics and antiquities.

In addition, with spectacular natural landscapes, great cultural differences from region to region as well as different cultures of more than 50 ethnic groups, Vietnam is a destination for domestic and foreign tourists to visit and explore its cultures. They can satisfy their exploration needs by going to museums, mausoleums and pagodas or simply blending into daily life and contacting with ethnic minorities.

Hence, Vietnam has become one of “must-visit” destinations of visitors. The statistics from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) showed that the number of international tourist arrivals to Vietnam is increasing rapidly. For example, in 2016, Quang Nam province received 4.36 million (1.7 times that of 2011) and tourism revenue of VND7,500 billion (2.6 times that of 2011).

Nevertheless, that also poses a big problem for authorities and local residents: How to balance tourism development and preserve monuments because, without conservation, Vietnam will gradually lose its own identity and will be no longer attractive to tourists. As a result, thousands of people will lose their jobs.

Relic conservation embedded with tourism development
Prof Le Huu Khoa, Director of Asia Postgraduate Division, Charles de Gaulle University-Lille, said, “Globalisation gives the tourism industry the opportunity to open the door to introduce local cultures and landscapes to travellers looking for a destination to explore and experience new things. Together with potential identities tapped for tourism development, sustainable tourism also requires travellers to respect people, culture, local economy, nature and relics.”

“It is necessary to closely link conservation and promotion of cultural values with responsible tourism principles and practices that bring long-term efficiency and benefits to the tourism industry,” said Mr Kai Partale, expert from the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme.
To do so, it is necessary to have the cooperation of authorities, businesses and local residents. Engaged in tourism, they must share benefits by creating jobs for local people and encouraging visitors to buy local products. Besides, it is necessary to raise awareness of buying tickets to visit relics to raise funds for preservation.

In addition, Mr Pham Tien Dung, Director of Goldentour Company, said that the tourism industry also needs to improve the management capacity to introduce best strategies, sustainable operations, rational visitor regulations to avoid overcrowding at monuments, provide incentives for travel businesses and impose appropriate penalties for offenders.

Besides, it is important to enhance the awareness of people in general and tourists in particular of preserving and respecting national identities and protecting the environment.

Without doubt, cultural and natural heritages are a prerequisite to develop tourism; thus developing national economy and raising material life for people. Meanwhile, tourism brings practical values and creates economic resources for restoring and preserving relics. For that reason, preserving relics must be carried out together with tourism development. Indeed, to find the solution to this matter, all stakeholders like relevant authorities, enterprises and the community must join hands.

Giang Tu

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