ASEAN Tourism Awards: Affirming quality, creating unique features of community tourism

(TITC) – In the framework of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2023 in Indonesia, Vietnam has 14 units winning the 2023 ASEAN Tourism Awards. In the award category of Housing with rooms for tourists to rent (homestay), the homestay cluster in An Binh commune of the province including 6 affiliated units won the award, affirming the quality of the “Vinh Long homestay” brand.

Improving quality and community value contributes to helping Vinh Long tourism attract and retain tourists (Photo: Vĩnh Long Online)

Positioning the brand “Vinh Long homestay”

The homestay cluster that won the ASEAN Tourism Award 2023 of Vinh Long province includes Ut Thuy, Sau Thanh, Nam Thanh, Ba Linh, Ngoc Phuong, Ngoc Sang units. These are units with a long history of forming, building and developing brands on An Binh island.

According to Mr. Vo Trung Son, Vice Chairman of Long Ho District People’s Committee, the locality has a type of eco-tourism that was formed in the early 80s of the twentieth century in An Binh island communes. Thanks to favourable natural conditions, these island communes have rich tourism potential, attracting a large number of domestic and international tourists to visit and enjoy the beautiful scenery, historical cultural and spiritual relics, craft villages and resort cuisine…

After more than 30 years of establishment and development, up to now the district’s island communes have more than 20 homestays serving tourists. Among them, 9 homestays won the ASEAN Tourism Award for the period 2017 – 2019; 2019 – 2021 and 2023.

As the first homestay to win the ASEAN Tourism Award in the Mekong Delta region, Ut Trinh Homestay is invested and developed meticulously and methodically with attractive experience programmes. Ms. Pham Thi Ngoc Trinh – owner of Ut Trinh Homestay shared that the facility has made a difference compared to other units and improved tourism programmes and products.

According to Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Phan Van Giau, Vinh Long tourism in general and homestay tourism in particular have affirmed their position in the service economic structure of the province and in the Tourist map of the whole country. In particular, An Binh island is the origin of homestay tourism, which has affirmed its central position in tourism. The number of visitors to homestay locations accounts for more than 40% of the total number of visitors in the province.

“It can be said that Vinh Long is the cradle of the homestay tourism model in the Mekong Delta region. The province’s tourism products have inspired many tourism programmes of provinces in the region. Especially currently, in the tourism development cooperation program between Ho Chi Minh City and provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta, Vinh Long has participated in the “Alluvial Roads” tourist route with typical tourism products of sightseeing, homestay experiences meeting ASEAN standards, combined with enjoying amateur music.”, said Mr. Phan Van Giau.

Improve quality and retain tourists

From 2022 until now, Vinh Long Province’s tourism industry has gradually recovered after being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, tourist facilities attracted more than 1 million visitor arrivals (up 150% over the same period in 2021), total tourist receipts reached VND 480 billion (up 155% over 2021). The province’s goal is that by 2030, along with the whole country, local tourism will basically become a key economic sector.

To achieve this goal, the Vinh Long tourism industry is focusing on implementing a project on building specific tourism products with 4 tourism products: homestay tourism, agricultural tourism, craft village tourism, and cultural tourism. Accordingly, the province focuses on building the Mang Thit District Contemporary Heritage Project and the Mekong Delta Agricultural Museum to create unique tourism products that only Vinh Long has.

Mr. Phan Van Giau added that in recent times, the province has been focused on tourism development, building specific products to create unique features and attract tourists. On that basis, the homestays have continuously renovated and embellished their spacious facilities and improved service quality to serve tourists.

​“Currently, in addition to familiar products such as rowing canoes on the river, visiting fruit gardens, and experiencing folk games, homestays have also incorporated the type of Boi singing at village communal houses into their tours, The most unique product is “Light a torch to watch Boi singing” creating a new and unique feature of Vinh Long tourism, meeting the demands of domestic and foreign tourists.

This product has also been included by the Vietnam Records Organisation (VietKings) in the top 20 unique tours that bring interesting experiences in Vietnam” – Mr. Phan Van Giau added.

The tourism product “Light a torch to see opera” has created a new and unique feature of Vinh Long tourism (Photo: Vĩnh Long Online)

In addition, in order for the homestay tourism type to increasingly promote its value and retain tourists, according to Mr. Le Viet Hung – representative of Travel Indochina Vietnam Company, in the near future, homestay tourism in Vinh Long needs to further improve quality as well as enhance community, environmental and social values.

“In community tourism, the most important thing is that everyone must work together, not only the homestay owner but also the surrounding community with the same awareness of doing tourism together, keeping the environment clean, beautiful and safe. Vinh Long choosing to develop the homestay type is a good point. In the future, we should also choose a type of tourism to experience craft villages. Combining these two types will create a difference compared to other provinces and cities. As a travel agency, we really hope that each locality’s tourism product will not be the same.” added Mr. Le Viet Hung.

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