Quang Nam, home to the World Heritage Sites of Hoi Anancient town and My Son sanctuary, is following new paths in tourism development, focusing on community-based tourism that both promotes and supports the local cultural identity.
Community tourism model
Community-based tourism is a new path for sustainable tourism development in Quang Nam.
Over the past few years, the province has created several community-based tourism products focusing on the daily lives of local communities.
The most successful products currently in operation include tours to Tra Que herb village in Hoi An’s Cam Ha commune, Dhroong and Bhoong villages in Dong Giang rural district, Vina house Space architecture complex in Dien Ban rural district, Phu Ninh lake eco-tourism, homestay experience in My Son, and night tours of Cu Lao Cham island.
Cultural experiences to celebrate the Nguyen Tieu festival (Lantern festival) are also taking place in Quang Trieu, Phuc Kien and Quang Cong temple in Hoi An.
By choosing any of these tourism products travellers have the chance to experience the daily life of the local people.
For example, at Tra Que herb village, named after the sweet scented herbs that add depth and flavour to Hoi An cuisine, tourists can observe local farmers carry out farming activities such as raking the ground, sowing seeds, watering crops and picking vegetables and can lend a hand with the tasks.
After the farm tour visitors are served up a home cooked lunch by a friendly local family where they can sample some specialties of Hoi An including cao lau, my Quang, banh xeo, and drinks made from local herbs.
Several tourism companies also offer cooking lessons, where tourists learn how to make authentic Hoi An food under the guidance of local cooks.
Night tours to Cu Lao Cham island are now available from Hoi An.
The tours, which take in attractive sites such as Hai Tang pagoda and the island’s sea conservation area to view colourful fish and coral reefs, are proving popular with visitors.
At night, these tours offer special art performances, folk games and camp-fire activities at the beach, with accommodation options ranging from homestays with local families to tents pitched by the beach.
According to Dinh Hai, director of Quang Nam department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, this model of tourism development will help to promote and preserve the cultural identity of the province and its localities and highlight the importance of intangible heritage sites.
The tourism products should be continually renovated in line with existing traditional values.
“Among millions of visitors to Quang Nam each year, the demand and interest varies from one person to another.
Therefore we must be flexible in our thinking and come up with new and varied services and products,” he said.
Development of state-of-the-art recreation services
According to Nguyen Su, former secretary of the Hoi An City Party Committee, the development direction of Quang Nam tourism is based on a perspective that focuses mainly on Hoi An and the enduring quintessence of its people.
Hoi An people live in an ancient, tranquil and peaceful environment, and this living environment is the highest-valued tourism product they can offer to tourists in today’s fast-paced world.
Quang Nam has the same perspective in renovating its tourism, therefore, traditional and community-based tourism products will be upgraded in line with the development of modern recreation centres and resorts.
Over the past few years, the province has called for outside investment in resort properties in order to increase its range of high-end accommodation with modern amenities.
Visitors to Hoi An can enjoy wandering in the old town by day, enjoying traditional specialities such as sweet bean soup, cao lau and chicken rice, while relaxing in international standard luxury accommodation at night.
Quang Nam offers a great selection of resorts with a total of more than 5,000 hotel rooms, including 5-star properties The Nam Hai resort and Montgomerie Link-one of the top golf clubs in Asia.
Along the CoCo River to Hoi An are many other luxurious resorts such as Palm Garden resort and spa, Sunrise Premium Resort Hoi An, Victoria Hoi An Beach resort and spa, Boutique Hoi An resort, Golden Sands resort and spa Hoi An.
Construction of the US$4 billion South Hoi An integrated casino resort began on April 2016 on an area of 985 hectares spanning Duy Nghia and Thang Binh districts in central Quang Nam province.
The project is invested by a joint venture between the Vietnam-focused asset management company VinaCapital and Gold Yield Enterprises.
Construction of the first phase will be gin on an area of 163 hectares with capital of US$500 million and is expected to be finished by the first quarter of 2019.
It will include an 18 hole golf course recently approved by the Prime Minister as part of the government’s golf course development plan.
These leisure projects will provide the foundation for Quang Nam tourism to flourish in the future.