Competitiveness: European Union helps Vietnam in “Green Tourism” & Thailand’s top priority in “Green Tourism”

going green the way most guys would not be able to

  • By Pooky, Thai Intel’s economics journalist

Thailand‘s top tourism planner has been making statements in the past few days that Thailand’s future in tourism lies in “Green Tourism.” In fact, Thailand’s green tourism got its start by European travelers to Thailand, some 3-4 years ago, demanding “Green Hotels.”

But according to the top Thai tourism planner, Thailand’s focus on green takes its roots in many other types of tourism, from nature, culture and social responsible tourism. He said, as more foreign tourist arrived to Thailand, Thailand began focusing on preserving its natural resources, such as natural forest, rivers and stream-along with the traditional and culture of many communities-for many years now.

“Thailand has the know-how to package a variety of sustainable tourism practices into a one total package under green tourism banner,” he said to a local press.

Meanwhile, green tourism is spreading across ASEAN, with the latest that the EU has gave a grant to Vietnam to train its tourism officials in green tourism. While some industry observer said Vietnam may pose as a competitor to Thailand’s tourism, many in Thiland’s tourism business have been promoting Thailand as the tourism hub of ASEAN.

“If the pie gets bigger, everyone can have a bigger piece….It is not that Thailand is competing with Vietnam in green tourism, it is more like building a future together,” said the top Thai tourism official.

A local Thai tourism industry executive, pointed to the maturity of Thai green tourism, to even the sex-filed sea-side resort of Pattaya, with wild and rowdy hotel establishment like the “Hard Rock Hotel” even organizing co-operation with school children to clean up the Pattaya beach on a regular basis.

The following is from VIR:

EU to help Vietnam develop tourism

Kenneth Atkinson, managing director of Grant Thornton Vietnam stated that the European Union plans to grant 11 million euros ($15 million) to help Vietnam develop its tourism sector.

He said the EU will focus on issues like exemption of visas to Vietnam.

Several Asian countries like Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore have exempted visas for international visitors and hence made it more convenient for a large number of visitors from the European Union. Visa exemption will help Vietnam attract more visitors as well.

The five-year program aims to train tourism administration staff in environmentally and socially responsible tourism as well as policies, planning and management of tourism.

Over 5,000 tourism sector workers from disadvantaged areas will be trained. According to a Grant Thornton survey, visitors from Europe hold 30 percent of the foreign tourist traffic in Vietnam, while Asian countries bring in 21 percent and the remaining come in from America and other countries.

Developing a sustainable coastal tourism sector is a top priority on the next 10 year development plan by Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, who will submit their report to the Prime Minister. – VIR

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