The Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang plans to focus on sustainable agricultural tourism as part of its effort to lure more tourists.
Speaking at a conference held this week in the province, Le Tien Chau, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the tourism sector played a vital role in the region’s socio-economic development.
Over the past five years, the province has developed key projects related to tourism infrastructure and products, and has strengthened linkages with travel firms in other provinces. It has also enhanced tourism promotional activities.
However, the region’s potential for agrotourism has yet to be realised.
Nguyen Thi Ly, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that agrotourism has helped reduce poverty and raise incomes of households in the province.
It has also contributed to cultural exchanges and raised awareness about environmental protection.
More and more travellers like to visit the countryside to enjoy peaceful scenery and sample fresh fruits and local specialties.
The province has special products such as Nam Roi grapefruit, Nga Bay orange, Long Tri mandarin orange and Cau Duc pineapple.
The province has also developed many tourist attractions and community-based tourism sites, she said.
However, a lack of professional skills in tourism services and unstable, small-scale tourism products are among the major challenges for agrotourism development, Ly said.
Underdeveloped tourist attractions and traffic infrastructure have also hindered tourism development, she said.
Le Minh Hoan, Secretary of the Party Committee of Dong Thap province, said: “Agrotourism should be developed in combination with community tourism. Local authorities should work with farmers to develop agrotourism. They need to fully understand tourism resources in the province and encourage farmers to ultilise the resources.”
Phan Dinh Hue, Director of the Viet Circle Tourism Service Company, said the province should provide tourists with unique experiences in agricultural activities and community-based tourism products such as fishing, visits to fruit gardens and homestays.
Travel officials and households should also receive training to improve their professional skills in tourism services, Hue said.