As commented by Liburd and Edwards (2018), the tourism industry is a fast-growing industry which is considered as the main reason for the economic development of Vietnam Tourism is one of the fastest mounting industries in the planet and an important source of foreign exchange and employment and it is closely linked to the social, economic and environmental well-being of many developed and developing countries. Sustainable tourism is also often subjected to as responsible tourism that has been adopted as a term imparted by the industry for those who believe that the term sustainable has been overused and misunderstood. As stated by Liburd and Edwards (2018), responsible tourism is any form of tourism that can be subjected in context to a more responsible way. Creating greater economic profit for the local populace and enhancing the well-being of the host community, improving in context to the working conditions, assisting the local community and emphasizing the responsibility of entrepreneurship is sustainable tourism.
Also, Vietnam’s tourism industry is developing today, as is Tseng et al. (2018) notes that in 2015, Vietnam earned USD 15 billion in tourism revenue. This article will analyze the question of sustainable tourism in Vietnam from three angles: the environment, the main problem of waste generation; socially, the loss of agricultural land that forces people to leave the land; and economically, the distribution of money is unequal. All of these will subject the unsustainable practices in context to Vietnam and the effective ways to overcome the challenges by minimizing the damage concerning the three pillars.
As stated by Vu and Ngo (2019), sustainability is the emergence of a more powerful condition in the world, where every creature on earth cares where our structures and structural cycles will continue to find their unique similarities from the ground beneath their feet to the entire planet for a long time. The appropriate balance between the three pillars: economic, environmental and social and due to the personal interests of all stakeholders due to change, government, local people and markets, tourists and entrepreneurs are important for achieving sustainability. According to a report in context to World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism is defined as tourism that evaluates its present and future economic aspects, its social and environmental impacts, tourism demand, industry, global and hospitality networks. Tseng et al. (2018) reported that Vietnam’s recent significant and rapid growth in context to the tourism industry has led to an unstable trend in the country which should be reduced by three pillars.
Much research has been done to find the causes of the instability in Vietnam's tourism industry and each article has concluded that the cause is an unbalanced imbalance within the triple bottom line. At first, the environment was severely damaged because of the poor organization of the industry. As stated by Chovancová-Lien et al. (2018), that waste generated by tourists in hotels and resorts was not disposed of properly due to weak industrial organizations which subjected to environmental pollution. Cutting down trees to build infrastructure also harms the environment. The pillars of the environment play an important role in making tourism sustainable. However, this location and the emissions of carbon dioxide from vehicles used by passengers greatly affect the environment. As commented by Liburd and Edwards (2018), that biodiversity is most affected by gases like carbon dioxide. For all these reasons, it invites various environmental problems such as climate change, rising sea levels, ozone depletion, water scarcity and depletion of biodiversity.
To reduce environmental problems, various plans and policies should be formulated with all stakeholders: transport companies, hotel and resort owners keeping the locals and tourists in mind. A cleaner environment and sustainable transportation can be effective solutions to environmental problems (Tseng et al., 2018) that can properly dispose of waste and reduce carbon emissions from the environment by transport companies. Also, public awareness and higher fines and fees and other effective and possible solutions to the problem of polluted environment need to be there so that one can preserve and conserve natural resources.
Second, the social pillar also calls into question the sustainability of tourism in Vietnam. The rapid development of tourism in Vietnam destroys the natural environment, changes the traditional culture, increases the cost of living of the local population and increases the crime rate of reception places and communities. As commented by McCool and Bosak (2016), farmland has suffered due to the construction of infrastructure which is forcing people to leave the area, which is a major social problem that has become a chronic obstacle. These issues create problems for tourists and the local community. Where there is only a clean natural environment, unique protection, culture and tradition, tourists are attracted and the number of tourists in Vietnam may decrease in a few years due to social problems.
As commented by Chovancová-Lien et al. (2018), the social pillar is equally important for sustainability and awareness programs to need to be further strengthened to understand the importance of preserving the natural environment and local culture as these are the most important elements that attract tourists and are the identity in context to the local population as stated by Tseng et al. (2018), key elements that should be realized is the security and effective role needs to be regarded for it as no one will like to go in a place that is not secure. Farmers whose agricultural land is used for development may be offered employment opportunities in the tourism industry instead of relocating as this is not the only solution to the problem and can reduce the cost of goods and services on the premises. Since tourists come to spend money in any country, locals may be charged more than them. These issues should be identified by stakeholders and effective measures should be taken to maintain the social pillar.
As commented by Liburd and Edwards (2018), reported that unequal distribution of money, unemployment, development activities only in remote areas, unemployment have created economic problems due to tourism in Vietnam. Stakeholders associated with the tourism industry accept an unequal distribution of money that is unfair and does not even allow local people to work in sectors that harm the country's economy and create unemployment problems. The government spends the revenue of the tourism industry in remote areas rather than in rural areas. Facilities such as clean water, well-maintained and well-built roads, new schools, colleges and offices are only available in remote areas of Vietnam, resulting in an imbalance in the country's stable economic development.
As commented by Powell et al. (2018) like the environment and social pillars, one of the solutions to economic problems can be to conduct public awareness programs. Although the development of remote areas provides employment, economic benefits and increased business activity, the tourism industry must be concerned with sustainable policies (Tseng et al., 2018). If development continues only in remote areas, it will create other problems in the region such as overflow, pollution and unemployment which will affect the tourism industry. That is why development in every region of the country must be equal and decisions must be made in collaboration with all partners and to understand the concepts of sustainable development.
Promoting sustainable tourism in Vietnam is a real current problem because the country is already heavily affected by tourism. As stated by Tseng et al. (2018) coming to this great country with a lasting mindset can make a difference. Things are slowly changing, especially after the massive killing of fish in 2016 at Ha Tinh, which sent a shock wave across the country. The sustainability of tourism is considered important for the development of the country and this goal was mentioned in the master plan for the development of tourism in Vietnam by 2020, which was the target by 2030. In addition to the government’s promises, many local travel agencies have realized the importance of increasing long-term visitor interest through responsible travel and environmental protection and conservation of their business resources. As stated by Cahill (2018) Sustainable Tourism in Vietnam with the increasing attention of government and local travel agencies, the country has become a more attractive destination for responsible travelers worldwide.
In conclusion, there is great potential for sustaining the application of Vietnam's growing tourism industry. However, there are many problems by the three pillars: the environment, the social and the environment that Vietnam needs to address to achieve tourism sustainability. Tseng et al. (2018) argue that sustainable tourism is only effective when one of the three pillars is treated equally without ignorance, since neglecting one of the pillars can be ineffective. As stated by Tseng et al. (2018), the most important thing for sustainability is to have cooperation among all stakeholders involved in information sharing, transparency and decision coordination. The development of tourism sustainability is crucial for this century because future generations will not have the opportunity to lead the tourism industry in the future, which will enable them to enjoy the natural environment, improve local businesses and learn new things.
Cahill, A. (2018). Sustainable Tourism Practices in Vietnam: The Influence of Institutions and Case Study of Sapa’s Growing Tourism Industry.
Chovancová-Lien, V. T. N. M., and Pham, H. N. N. T. (2018). THE CONTRIBUTION OF GUEST ONLINE REVIEWS ON UPSCALE HOTELS TO SUSTAINABLE TOURISM. ICFE 2018, 488.
Liburd, J., and Edwards, D. (2018). Collaboration for sustainable tourism development. Goodfellow Publishers Ltd.
McCool, S. F., and Bosak, K. (Eds.). (2016). Reframing sustainable tourism. Dordrecht: Springer.
Powell, R. B., Green, T. F., Holladay, P. J., Krafte, K. E., Duda, M., Nguyen, M. T., ...and Das, P. (2018). Examining community resilience to assist in sustainable tourism development planning in Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, Vietnam. Tourism Planning & Development, 15(4), 436-457.
Tseng, Wu, Lee, Lim, Bui, and Chen. (2018). Assessing sustainable tourism in Vietnam: A hierarchical structure approach. Journal of Cleaner Production,195, 406-417.
Vu, H. M., and Ngo, V. M. (2019). Strategy development from triangulated viewpoints for a fast growing destination toward sustainable tourism development–a case of Phu Quoc Islands in Vietnam. Journal of Tourism and Services, 10(18), 117-140.
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