Province home to Hoi An strives to develop ‘plastic waste-free’ tourism

Province home to Hoi An strives to develop ‘plastic waste-free’ tourism
Tourist boats along the Hoai River in Hoi An, located in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Nam. Photo: B.D. / Tuoi Tre

A conference on ‘plastic waste-free’ tourism was organized in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Nam on Monday with the attendance of representatives from UNESCO and local tourist companies.

Quang Nam, home to such famous destinations as Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary, has welcomed over 6.5 million visitors so far this year, Phan Xuan Thanh, president of the Quang Nam Tourism Association, spoke at the event.

The province produces about 660 metric tons of trash on a daily basis, of which 92 metric tons comes from Hoi An City, Thanh continued.

A resort is being built in the Cham Islands. Photo: B.D/ Tuoi Tre

A resort is built in the Cham Islands. Photo: B.D. / Tuoi Tre

Plastic waste accounts for 18 to 20 percent of garbage in the province, he added.

Local tourist firms, travel agencies, as well as visitors have been shifting to sustainable and eco-friendly tourist activities to make some positive change.

Many restaurants in Quang Nam no longer use plastic straws, Thanh elaborated, adding that state entities in Hoi An have stopped using plastic water bottles in their offices.

Delegates are pictured at the conference on September 9, 2019. Photo: B.D/ Tuoi Tre

Delegates are pictured at the conference on September 9, 2019. Photo: B.D. / Tuoi Tre

According to Quang Nam chairman Le Tri Thanh, the province is proud to be home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary, both of which got the recognition in 1999.

It has another gem for tourism, Cham Islands, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, chairman Thanh stated.

However, Thanh warned that these destinations can be threatened by environmental pollution, adding that the consequences will be bad if no drastic measures are taken.

Nguyen The Hung, vice-chairman of Quang Nam, signs a commitment on sustainable and eco-friendly tourism. Photo: B.D/ Tuoi Tre

Nguyen The Hung, vice-chairman of Quang Nam, signs a commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly tourism.Photo: B.D. / Tuoi Tre

At the conference, Michael Croft, UNESCO head of office in Vietnam, expressed a belief that the main focus in Hoi An and My Son should be changed from attracting visitors to conserving the environment and key values.

There need to be specific actions and strategies for sustainable tourism in the province, Croft asserted.

Many delegates agreed that visitors have also raised their standards when it comes to environmental protection.

Holidaymakers now tend to evaluate tourist destinations, travel agencies, and hotels by how they treat the local environment, they told the event.

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