When Vietnam’s tourism sector is slowly recovering, Thai Nguyen province started to focus on developing community-based agritourism, with a focus on the province’s famous tea culture, alongside many other agritourism models.

Thai Nguyen will commit themselves to developing community-based agritourism in accordance with the tourism development plan for 2021-2025, orienting to 2030. Many local households are also starting their homestay businesses with help from local officials. Journey with Destination Review and have a talk with Mrs. Nguyen Thi Mai, Director of Thai Nguyen Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to learn more about the perspective behind this plan, as well as information about upcoming activities in Thai Nguyen.

Thai Nguyen has suitable land and weather condition for growing tea with high-quality tastes and smells. Thai Nguyen currently has 6 famous tea farming areas, which are: Tan Cuong, La Bang, Trai Cai – Minh Lap, Tuc Tranh, and Phu Ninh.

Particularly, Tan Cuong has received more than hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Visitors are introduced to the history and culture of tea; directly participate in the manufacturing process, and experience the local culture. This is why the Thai Nguyen International Tea Festival is held in Tan Cuong. With wonderful cultural, sports, and tourism activities emphasizing the local community, the Thai Nguyen International Tea Festival contributed to the conservation and promotional efforts for Thai Nguyen Tea’s tangible and intangible values; pushing the development of Thai Nguyen and Vietnam’s tea industry as a whole.

Seeing the importance of tea farming and tea culture in developing tourism, Thai Nguyen has decided to develop tourism around tea culture as one of its main mission for Thai Nguyen’s tourism development plan in 2021 – 2025, orientating to 2030 with tourism products that focus around tea culture like community-based tourism; agritourism; heritage, cultural and spiritual tourism; eco-resorts, …

Based on this development goal, the people of Thai Nguyen are supported by local cooperatives in terms of human resources, budgets, training, and knowledge so they can produce and promote their products to tourists. Tea manufacturers Tam Tra Thai, and Hao Dat,… have all become models for others to follow, by investing in infrastructures like showcasing areas, homestay lodges,…

Developing tourism around tea culture has contributed to diversifying tourism products, as well as promoting Thai Nguyen’s tea brand to many tourists, both locally and internationally. Thai Nguyen’s tea is no longer limited to being an agricultural product but is slowly becoming a tourism product unique to the land, differentiating the province from other destinations and attracting tourists.

As we all know, tourism is an integrated, interdisciplinary economic sector. Therefore, to develop community-based tourism, it’s advisable to rely on core values such as local community culture to have investment plans for infrastructure improvements, tourism products, and workforce training – forming a complete, cohesive economy.

Thai Nguyen is a land steeped rich in history and culture, with much potential for nature and humanistic tourism. With more than 1,000 cultural and historical relics, Thai Nguyen currently has 17 intangible cultural heritage belonging to many local ethnic minorities, divided into 5 categories: folk musical performances, traditional crafts, festivals, social practices and beliefs, and folk knowledge. These are precious resources for sustainable tourism, especially when developing community-based tourism.

We’ve been slowly investing in community-based agritourism integrating tea culture and ethnic culture during the past time, and forming a few tourism products and activities. The people have also started to adopt the tourism mindset, utilizing Thai Nguyen’s potential for ecotourism and cultural tourism. Moreover, many families had already developed homestays in other ecotourism-friendly locations around the province.

However, community-based tourism in Thai Nguyen is still at some disadvantages. Mainly the lack of professional attitudes and work conduct in many families, poor tourism promotion and infrastructure; lack of unique, locally-made tourism products, unskilled workforce, lack of connection and support among households …

Currently, the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism is focusing on advising and implementing Decision No. 05/2022/QD-UBND dated 04/4/2022, made by the Thai Nguyen People’s Committee on the implementation of policies to support the development of community-based tourism from 2022 to 2025. Of which, the province’s budget will allow for financial support of up to 25 billion VND in 5 community-based tourism sites. More specifically, the funding will be used for project formulation and infrastructure investment; developing tourism products; training and development of human resources; and supporting advertisement efforts.

Because of urbanization and modernization, there is now a demand from tourists, especially those who live in urban cities, to go back to the simple countryside, with fresh air, natural scenery, and traditional cultural values. Wanting to develop community-based, sustainable tourism, Thai Nguyen has decided to focus their tourism plans on areas known for new agricultural revolutions. Moreover, Thai Nguyen is also planning for economic development around eco-tourism potential, locally-made agricultural products that are associated with the “One commune one product” program (OCOP), contributing to improving people’s income and livelihood.

To this day, community-based agritourism has been developed in many regions. Besides producing tea and raising product quality, many tea manufacturers are now properly invested in beautiful tea plantations, developing more tourism services that satisfy customers’ demands. Besides this form of tourism, there are also new agritourism models like fruit garden tours and agritourism around the natural sceneries of Ghenh Che pond …

In popular tourist spots, there are now many families opening homestays, dining and lodging establishments; many communities and tea manufacturers have invested in tourism infrastructures like areas to showcase production techniques, tea selling booths, and tea-drinking spaces, capable of servicing a large number of tourists. Community-based tourism in Thai Nguyen is slowly becoming more popular, creating a sense of cooperation between participating locals. Here, travelers will experience the daily lives and rituals of the local ethnic minorities, learn more about tea culture and unique agricultural products, as well as conveniently travel to nearby destinations.

A few years ago, when community-based tourism in Thai Nguyen hasn’t been developed, local people are only used to agriculture, they are not equipped for tourism services and hospitality, and cannot properly utilize the land’s advantage to attract tourists. The local government had pushed for more promotion, encouraging the people to change their thinking, pushing for more training and education on tourism and hospitality techniques, encouraging local farmers to utilize economic, science, and technology in their work, develop new tourism experiences and services, develop community-based tourism and agritourism.

Every year, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism cooperates with the Thai Nguyen Tourism Association and tourism training schools to organize training courses on community-based tourism for officials, business owners, cooperatives, and people who live in hot spots that have developed or planned to develop community-based tourism – improving local workforce’s tourism capability and awareness.

In the future, we will continue to coordinate with local regions to organize more training courses on effective communication and management, allowing people to better participate in community-based tourism. Only by linking community-based tourism with the local community, its economy and cultural value will it be able to grow sustainably and in the right direction. Thai Nguyen encourages and creates opportunities suitable for locals to create homestays that synergize with the local socio-economic development and have good infrastructures, thereby raising the quality of service for tourism.

Tourism in Thai Nguyen now has more breakthroughs, and the diversified development of different tourism models has reached the market’s demands. In particular, the production of travel tours, routes, and destinations for community-based tourism and eco-tourism that were built around agricultural products have attracted many visitors in this current situation. The government’s plan and decision, the smooth coordination between regions, and the locals’ enthusiasm as well as creativity will contribute to making community-based agritourism more attractive.

In the future, we will push for more advertisements and promotions for destinations and tourism products; deploy tourism stimulus programs; actively link and coordinate with the Provincial Tourism Association to organize and welcome Famtrip delegations from provinces and cities throughout the country to visit and experience community and rural tourism. At the same time, we will also organize cultural, sports, and tourism events to attract investment in tourism development; strengthen and promote the application of 4.0 technology in tourism promotion and communication. In particular, contests to design Logos, Slogans, souvenirs, and tourist gifts for Thai Nguyen province will be held this year to promote tourism images and contribute to the development of the Thai Nguyen tourism industry, making it more sustainable.

#Destination Inno is a series introducing innovative strategies and development plans for destinations.

Thai Nguyen expands the potential of tea culture with community-based agritourism

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