Local economies in Vietnam could benefit more from World Heritage tourism

November 30, 2015

An international research project funded by Kent Business School (KBS) at the University of Kent and the British Council has reported on the socio-economic impacts of coastal tourism in Vietnam.

Project leader Dr Mark Hampton, Reader in Tourism Management at KBS, led fieldwork visits to UNESCO World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay earlier this year accompanied by Dr Pham Hong Long (Dean of the Faculty of Tourism, Vietnam National University Hanoi) and Dr Julia Jeyacheya (Centre for International Development, University of Bradford).

The project examined the main social and economic impacts of tourism in Ha Long Bay. For the economic impacts, the research found increasing local economic benefits from direct and indirect employment in the tourism industry as well as from the tourist spend in the local economy on food, drink, accommodation, local transport and souvenirs.

The construction of one of the world's largest cable car installations, new luxury hotels and beach developments in the Bay Chai tourist zone will transform tourism and offer more business opportunities.

Dr Hampton reported back that while the huge growth in tourism to Ha Long Bay has created significant employment and opportunities for local people, his research has shown that economic linkages to the local economy could be strengthened further to capture more benefits locally from tourism, especially for small and medium sized businesses.

Key project findings on Ha Long Bay were presented by the team at an International Workshop on Coastal Tourism held at the Faculty of Tourism, VNU Hanoi, on 24 November. Delegates attended from the tourism industry, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the Responsible Tourism Club of Vietnam, university academics and postgraduate research students.

Professor Minh, Vice Rector of VNU Hanoi, expressed his gratitude to the British Council and Kent Business School for funding the research collaboration and encouraged further collaboration in the future.

The fieldwork included interviews with key tourism industry leaders from hotels and restaurants, tour operators and government officials from Quang Ninh province.

University of Kent
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