Vietnam and Colombia share about management in protected areas and national parks

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– On September 28, Embassy of Colombia in Vietnam coordinated with Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) organized webinar on "Management in protected areas and national parks". Ms. Nohora Constanza Olaya Cantro - Director of Quality and Sustainable Tourism Development (Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia) and Mr. Ha Van Sieu - Vice Chairman of VNAT co-chaired the webinar.

Mr. Ha Van Sieu - Vice Chairman of VNAT co-chaired the webinar. Photo TITC

The event attracted the participation of more than 100 delegates from the International Cooperation Department), Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam), Nature Conservation and Biodiversity Department (Vietnam Administration of Forestry), local tourism departments (Ninh Binh, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Phu Tho, Nam Dinh, Ca Mau, Lao Cai, Cao Bang), Vietnam National Park and Protected Areas Association (VNPPA), national parks (Ba Vi, Cuc Phuong, Cat Ba, Bai Tu Long, Ba Be, Phia Oac-Phia Den, Tam Dao, Phong Nha - Ke Bang, Cat Tien, Con Dao, Tram Chim, U Minh Ha, Phuoc Binh, Nui Chua, Kon Ka Kinh), Xuan Lien Nature Reserve and tourism businesses.

Speaking at the webinar, Mr. Ha Van Sieu - Vice Chairman of VNAT informed that the Covid-19 pandemic has been seriously affecting the socio-economics and all areas of life globally, including tourism. The pandemic has brought the world tourism industry to almost complete halt, including ecotourism activities. On the contrary, the fact that protected areas are not open to tourists during this time also creates conditions for the natural eco-system to recover more quickly. In addition, this is also the right time for managers and policy-makers to come up with plans and measures for the re-opening of protected areas in a sustainable way.

Vietnam is one of the countries with the highest bio-diversity in the world, ranked at 16th, with rich and endemic natural eco-system types, genetic resources. According to a research by the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), the system of special-use forests and protected areas in Vietnam is diverse in both values of natural and cultural tourism resources, creating favorable conditions for eco-tourism development. Ethnic minorities living in the buffer zone of the protected areas with their own unique cultural features also attract the attention and study of many tourists. Therefore, developing eco-tourism in nature conservation areas is one of the main development orientations of Vietnam's tourism.

Eco-tourism activities have brought many positive results in terms of preserving natural eco-systems, preserving and promoting cultural values, increasing incomes for local communities, and raising awareness of communities and visitors about conservation. However, the management and exploitation of tourism activities in these areas exposed some constraints. For example, the management board's autonomy is still weak; the tourism products are still poor; and the management has not met the requirements of principles of eco-tourism.

The webinar. Photo TITC

According to Vietnam Administration of Forestry, Vietnam has 33 national parks, 57 nature reserves, 13 species and habitat conservation areas, 53 landscape protection areas and 09 biosphere reserves. Among them, only 61 national parks and nature reserves organize ecotourism activities.

Recognizing the importance of ecotourism as "the key to poverty alleviation and environmental protection", Vietnam tourism always identifies ecotourism as a priority orientation in its development strategy. This strategy also is special significance in the context of tourism development post COVID-19 pandemic. Green tourism is contributing to sustainable tourism development. Vietnam tourism industry has make efforts to turn the potentials and advantages of ecotourism into tourism recovery plan as well as confirming an attractive ecotourism destination.

Following the success of the webinar on building and promoting coffee-based tourism products that took place on September 16, this webinar is a very meaningful activity in 2021 to implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation between Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam and Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia, helping to enhance mutual understanding of tourism industry, contributing to promoting cooperation between the two countries.

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