Hà Nội’s Department of Tourism has begun offering training classes to residents living in areas that receive heavy tourist traffic, aiming to promote community-based tourism and improve the quality of tourist services.
Đường Lâm Village in Hà Nội’s Sơn Tây City retains most of the characteristics of a typical Vietnamese village: a village gate, banyan trees, a wharf, a communal yard, pagodas, a well and rice fields. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuấn
According to the department, tourism is a key industry in Hà Nội’s economy. The city boasts more than 1,300 craft villages, over 600 cultural and historical sites and about 1,000 annual festivals. Last year, about 22 million visitors arrived Hà Nội, an 11 per cent increase from 2015. The city expects to get 23.6 million visitors this year, including 4.3 million foreigners. But serving visitors to help make sure they want to make a return visit to Hà Nội is an art and a skill that can be difficult to master.
Last year, to address this need for training, the tourism department opened three tourism-related classes for people in the communes of Ba Trại, Vân Hòa and Ba Vì in the suburban district of Ba Vì.
In August 2017, another class was opened for people in Quảng An Ward in Tây Hồ District. Last month, nearly 100 people in Thụy Lâm Commune of Đông Anh District participated in a similar class.
During these classes, people receive information about the benefits of tourism, skills to communicate and serve tourists and instructions on the need to keep the environment clean and green.
Phạm Hùng Sơn, head of Đường Lâm Ancient Village Relic Management Board, said that Đường Lâm villagers understand the benefits of tourism. More than 120 families in the village participate in the tourism industry, including by offering homestay services or other tourism products.
Nguyễn Mạnh Trường, vice chairman of Quảng An Ward People’s Committee in Tây Hồ District, said that the ward was famous for decorative plants, lotus ponds and lotus-scented-tea as well as religious sites like Tây Hồ Temple and Kim Liên Pagoda.
More than 700 families in the ward rent houses to foreigners. During peak times, he said, the ward hosts up to 3,000 foreign visitors.
“With such advantages, Quảng An residents are excited to join tourism activities, particularly because of the economic benefits to families and localities,” Trường said.
Chu Thị Minh Tâm, head of Tây Hồ District’s Culture Division, said that in order to engage the local community in tourism development, it was necessary to facilitate opportunities for them to participate in tourism planning and then supervise the implementation of the plans.
“This will help to produce more practical planning and help local residents properly know about changes to the land they are living in,” Tâm said. “Improvement of public awareness of the need to preserve natural and cultural values of the locality also helps ensure stability in their lives.”
Vũ An Dân, head of Tourism Department under Hà Nội Open University, said that human resources should be the first area of focus in any effort to speed up tourism development.
“Poor human resources, poor service quality means visitors will not return,” Dân said.
He said that such tourism training classes for local communities were very helpful, particularly if they addressed two widespread weaknesses among tourism industry employees: maintaining industry standards of professionalism and foreign language competence. — VNS