VietNamNet Bridge – Unreasonable development of ecotourism is threatening the environment, experts say.
Son Tra peninsula, Da Nang
A report from the Department for Special-use Protective Forest Management in 2017 shows that national parks and nature reserves received more than 2 million visitors in 2016, an increase of 178 percent compared with the year before, and total revenue from tourism reached VND114 billion, up by 48 percent.
Le Van Lanh, Vice President of the Vietnam National Parks and Nature Reserves Association, cited a report of WWF as saying that Vietnam has great potential for ecotourism because of its biodiversity, rare and endemic species of wildlife, many ecosystems and beautiful landscapes.
The report also said that ecotourism products typical of national parks/nature reserves could be developed. These include bird watching tourism (Xuan Thuy, Tram Chim, Ca Mau Cape) and animal watching (Cat Tien, Phong Nha-Ke Bang).
Vietnam can also design tours for travelers to see turtles laying eggs, to dive to admire corals (Con Dao Island, Nui Chua, Nha Trang Bay), to watch butterflies and insects, and travel to see frogs and amphibians.
National parks and nature reserves received more than 2 million visitors in 2016, an increase of 178 percent compared with the year before, and total revenue from tourism reached VND114 billion, up by 48 percent.
Tourists can also visit the caves at the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, and wetland ecosystems and mangrove ecosystems (Xuan Thuy National Park, U Minh Thuong, U Minh Ha).
Lanh said the national parks/nature reserves where ethnic minority people live, together with their cultural characteristics, give opportunities to develop tourism products discovering local cultures in Sa Pa (Hoang Lien), Pac Ngoi hamlet (Ba Be) and Khanh hamlet (Cuc Phuong).
However, with unprofessionalism, local authorities still cannot take full advantage of the potential, while unreasonable mass tourism projects have threatened ecosystems, which are the foundation for tourism development.
The General Directorate of Forestry, which inspected ecotourism activities in national parks/nature reserves in 2017, found that 56 of 61 national parks/nature reserves developed ecotourism businesses though they did not have ecotourism development plans, and 60 of 61 national parks/nature reserves did not have investment projects approved by appropriate agencies.
According to Huynh Phuoc, deputy chair of the Da Nang Union of Science & Technology Association, the way of organizing business activities has caused many problems.
“The principles of ecotourism are not strictly observed, which destroys the integrity in national parks/nature reserves, and the rights of the next generations to inherit intact assets,” he commented.
Meanwhile, Du Van Toan from the Institute of Marine and Island Research, pointed out that the building of roads and cable cars, together with the construction of modern facilities, have divided the national parks/nature reserves into small pieces, thus damaging the habitats of animals.