Such an increase in visitor numbers requires substantial accommodation and infrastructure – most of which will likely be built as close as possible to the already crowded and endangered shoreline. threaten. That outlook remains uncertain, or at least waits until international travel begins again.
Vietnam’s resilient shores
Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Mr. Nguyen Huy Dung, a senior expert on disaster risk management at the World Bank and also a co-author of the report. He said that although “some coastal areas are more vulnerable than others, a disaster in any one region can and will affect the whole country negatively.”
The report focuses on possible damages and losses to Vietnam’s key coastal economic sectors such as agriculture, aquaculture, tourism and industrial production, with a particular focus on especially on the impact of coastal and riverside flooding.
While all industries will be affected, tourism is the most vulnerable in terms of “average annual value of production at risk”. The total risk to the cruise industry from coastal and riverine flooding is approximately $500 million. To see how vulnerable the cruise industry is, compare it with the next most vulnerable, aquaculture, with a much lower value of annual losses, at $137 million.
One positive point to be noted is that the development of infrastructure has caused the death toll from storms to decrease significantly over the past few decades. However, as sea levels rise to a predicted level of 30 cm by 2030 and potentially up to 70 cm by 2100, storms become more frequent and are actually moving more southward, the This loss will continue to increase much.
The report also recommends key areas for the Vietnamese government to launch a strategic intervention to strengthen coastal resilience: strengthening data and decision-making tools. decisions, implement risk-based planning, strengthen the resilience of infrastructure and public services, use nature-based solutions, and improve preparedness and response with disaster.
If these measures are not implemented within the next five years, the report says the economy will slow to growth with potential losses of up to $4.3 billion, which will certainly make the recovery worse. significantly more difficult economic and environmental conditions.
“Any sustainable solution must take into account all the factors of a particular situation, so all the recommendations in our report must be used in conjunction with each other,” said Mr. Dung. . If certain factors are overlooked or not fully considered, poor decisions and inadequate planning will lead to actions that are inconsistent with long-term resilience, and coastal economy is not protected.
With predictions of the possibility of borders starting to slowly reopen later this year, industry insiders are calling for an urgent shift in mindset to shift to a sustainable tourism model. for the future of Vietnam.
Sustainable tourism industry by reducing arrivals
Both of these factors clearly contribute to Vietnam’s notoriously low rate of return visitors. According to a report by the Asia Pacific Travel Association, this rate is as low as 6%. If ignored, the current approach to growth will only exacerbate these problems and risk losing all the benefits that recent growth has provided.
Alexandra said: “To build a sustainable tourism industry, increasing the number of visitors alone does not work. That only adds to the pressure on infrastructure and the environment, threatening the charm that first attracts tourists to a place like Vietnam.”
She believes that in order to protect these destinations, Vietnam should abandon the quantitative results-based model that only inflates the absolute numbers, and instead use more qualitative measures that take into account the factors that are important to them. other factors, such as visitor satisfaction and opinions, in addition to the important views of local people.
She added that it is not the easiest path but it is important to support those who are doing their part in preserving Vietnam’s coast and avoiding places that are seen as unsustainable. EXO Travel researches and designs tours that directly meet the needs of guests, not only in terms of destinations and experiences, but also in the direction of taking advantage of the unique and inherent beauty of Vietnam, adding value to tourists. trips. This concentration often increases length of stay and dispersion across multiple destinations, which naturally leads to more spending by guests.
An increased focus on wildlife-related activities, cycling and hiking trips, along with the presence of authentic culture adds value to the stay, and allows Countries like Malaysia, Nepal and India demonstrate that any drop in tourist arrivals can be offset by higher profits. Supporting other industries also helps to build a healthy economy, freeing the environment from the inexcusable demands that the rise of mere fevers requires.