Vietnamese businesses apply the ASEAN Tourism standards towards sustainable development

(TITC) – Complying with the ASEAN Tourism Standards will create advantages for the Vietnamese tourism industry to develop sustainably, minimise negative impacts on the environment and adapt to climate change.

Expectations from the ASEAN Tourism standards

On 31st May, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism organised the conference on implementing ASEAN Tourism standards, and at the same time launched the ASEAN tourism awards to the service business community in the industry.

Accordingly, ASEAN member countries have developed a set of standards to standardise tourism services to determine a common framework of criteria, from which countries in the region have unified implementation to improve quality and build ASEAN becomes a common quality destination.

The ASEAN Tourism Development Strategy 2016-2025 defines a vision that by 2025 it will become a high-quality tourist destination, developing in a sustainable, responsible, comprehensive and balanced direction; making significant contributions to the socio-economic development of people throughout the region…

Overview of the conference (Photo: Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism)

Specifically, tourism service businesses need to meet 8 standards including: Green hotels, homestays, community tourism, sustainable tourism products, MICE venues, clean tourism cities, public toilets and Spa services.

Ms. Bui Thi Ngoc Hieu, Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism shared: Applying ASEAN tourism standards will help ensure that tourism activities in Ho Chi Minh City are carried out in a sustainable manner. By complying with this standard, Ho Chi Minh City can minimise negative impacts on the environment and maintain a harmonious balance between tourism development and environmental protection, adapting to climate change.

Ms. Nguyen Thanh Binh, Deputy Head of Hospitality Industry Management Division, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (now known as Vietnam National Authority of Tourism), hoped that by 2025, Vietnam will be in the top 3 in Southeast Asia, top 50 globally in terms of countries with the world’s leading competitiveness. On that basis, contributing to solving employment problems for about 5.5 – 6 million workers, with an average growth of 12% – 14%; strive to reach 1,150,000-1,200,000 accommodation rooms, capacity utilisation is about 60%/year.

Many businesses have not been able to respond

Ms. Nguyen Thanh Binh added, Vietnam does not yet meet the criteria in the ASEAN Tourism standards because many destinations do not have clean public restrooms. It is difficult for Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to meet the criteria of clean tourist cities when environmental quality is not guaranteed

​Regarding the hotel system, Vietnam currently has only 41 hotels receiving the ASEAN Green Hotel award (green hotel award – 1 of 8 criteria of the ASEAN Tourism standards), including a number of hotels in Ho Chi Minh City such as: Chains Caravelle, Ben Thanh (Rex), De Nhat (First), Dong Khoi (Grand), Kim Do, Hoan Cau (Continental), Equatorial, Sheraton Saigon…

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, Director of Gold Lion Hotel stated, as a 2-star hotel in Ho Chi Minh City with 9 employees and 31 rooms, achieving green hotel criteria according to ASEAN tourism standards is not easy. The reason is because, not only Gold Lion but also small hotels in the area need large funds to retrain personnel, upgrade services, infrastructure… to change.

Therefore, according to the Department of Tourism of Ho Chi Minh City, each business operating in the industry needs to proactively develop a plan, time and roadmap to apply ASEAN tourism standards. In particular, businesses need to evaluate the effectiveness and capacity of the staff and workers working at the system of tourist accommodation establishments in order to come up with solutions to increase tourist satisfaction, improve quality, and increase influence to be competitive in today’s time.

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