Training Course on Ecotourism Held for Ethnic Minorities in 4 Provinces

Helvetas Vietnam is organizing a series of training courses for about 1,200 ethnic minorities in the ecotourism chains in Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Quang Nam, Thua Thien - Hue provinces to improve livelihoods for communities living in buffer zones of national parks and nature reserves in Vietnam.

Organizing campfires should follow some principles and requires certain conditions and good organizational skills, otherwise it can become a risk to participants or to the environment, or cause forest fires.

Helvetas Vietnam and Ken Travel recently coorganized the training course on organizing campfires for the tourism community in Huong Phung and Tan Hop communes (Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province).

Through this training course, 15 ecotourism households in Huong Hoa district have been equipped with essential knowledge and skills to build campfires and organize campfire games for visitors.

In the course, the participants have been instructed on types of campfires, implementation procedures, safety principles, and how to create good atmosphere through campfire games, etc. They were also given the chance to practice what they have learned under hands-on instruction by a professional trainer.

Ho Thi Hui, lives in Huong Phung commune, Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province, shared, “Previously, I only planted coffee, cassava, rice and pick bamboo shoots in the forest to sell, just earned enough to eat. Since doing tourism, I have met many people, I feel delighted and more confident and wear beautiful clothes every day to welcome guests. Through this training course, I have learned a lot. I am planning to set up a performance team to serve tourists here.”

With practical training content and hands-on training methodology, Helvetas Vietnam's training courses have been highly appreciated by trainees as well as local authorities. For example, in the training course on ‘Culinary Skills’, the participants learned how to prepare and decorate food and drink using locally available materials and showing the uniqueness of local culture.

In the marketing course, the participants learned how to do online marketing for their ecotourism services by video making with smartphones, content creating, and publishing on online platforms like Facebook, TikTok, among others.

This is an activity under Sub-Component 6 of the VFBC Project funded by USAID, implemented by Helvetas Vietnam and partners to improve livelihoods for communities living in buffer zones of national parks and nature reserves in Vietnam.

According to Ho Van Nhang, a trainee who has participated in some training courses by the project, in the past, his family’s income mostly came from rice and coffee planting and collecting honey, and bamboo shoots in the forest. They had to work very hard but still not enough to eat. Since doing tourism, things have changed.

After being trained in marketing, he knew how to post on Tiktok, Facebook, and Zalo to promote Chenh Venh tourism [a famous tourist attraction in Huong Hoa district]. His Tiktok account, which has just been created for half a month, has already had more than 700 followers. After some articles about food, he has received up to 200 orders, worth about VND 10 million.

"Most of the customers like grilled chicken to bring along to the waterfall. Not only local guests but also guests from Hanoi and HCM City also know about my food. I’m now planning to improve the accommodation service in the community houses and make videos on YouTube to promote Chenh Venh tourism and share my experience,” he said.

The involvement of professional trainers from tourism companies, associations, and training schools in the training courses has helped ethnic minorities in remote areas learn how to do tourism professionally.

After the courses, the participants can immediately apply what they have learned to provide tourists with unique experiences of the natural landscape and culture with higher quality, safer, and eco-friendly services.

This is one of the interventions under Sub-Component 6 within the project 'Vietnam’s Forest Management and Biodiversity Conservation (VFBC), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented by WWF, Helvetas, and some other international organizations in collaboration with the Forestry Projects Management Board and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam.

The project's objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration in Vietnam's natural and planted production forests, and ensure biodiversity conservation in high-value forested areas.

Helvetas is in charge of sustainable value chain development, ecotourism, and livelihood improvement for communities in the six central provinces.

Last month, in Hue, Helvetas and Vietnam Tourism Community Association also co-organized a training course on ecotourism marketing for some ethnic minority communities from Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien - Hue.

Through this training, about 30 ethnic minority participants have been equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to do online marketing for their own ecotourism services.

The trainers did not only provide them with general knowledge about tourism marketing but also hands-on training on video making with smartphones, content creating, and publishing on online platforms like Facebook and TikTok. In addition, the participants also had a learning tour at Anor Community Eco-Tourism Village and enjoyed group activities to discuss and share experiences.

In the coming time, Helvetas Vietnam will organize business connection activities and training courses for the tourism communities in Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien - Hue, and Quang Nam to provide them with essential skills such as tour guides, homestay services, campfire organization, services and safety in survival tours, contributing to the development of ecotourism chains and improving the livelihoods of forest-based communities in these areas.