Saturday, 9 August 2014

Community-based Tourism in Nam Dam village of Vietnam

Nam Dam is a charming village in mountainous area of Ha Giang province, Vietnam. Its inhabitants, Dao Ethnic Minority, still maintain traditional lifestyle. Due to remote location, the village was little known despite the bloom of Vietnam tourism in recent decades. Only until 2013, changes happened when a community-based tourism (CBT) project was developed here by an international and a domestic non-profit organizations.

The project has helped the community to build tourism development strategy and infrastructure; enhance their hospitality capacity. Gradually, Nam Dam is turning into a new attractive CBT destination. More and more tourists are coming to stay at simple but comfortable home-stays, taste local cuisine, observe and take part in daily lives of villagers. They can enjoy several beautiful sightseeing, trekking, cycling routes surrounding Nam Dam. Other services in the village include performing traditional music show, selling handmade hemp products and local specialties.

Though at early stage, tourism has brought about new source of income in non-agricultural sector for many households and villagers. It has created positive social effects to encourage villagers’ pride and awareness to preserve local culture, natural resources. The community’s solidarity is strengthened through villagers’ participation in tourism and their eagerness to turn their homeland into a favorite destination.

Tourism has not only benefited direct participants but also the rest of the community through project's activities to improve trekking routes, promote voluntary programs. In cooperation to develop tourism, the government has paid more attention to improvement of roads, electricity, water supply, etc in the village. Those who directly provide tourism service regularly contribute a certain percentage of their profit into the Community Development Fund which will be used for community's purposes.

A typical house in Nam Dam

Mr. Duyen, 63 years old, a home-stay owner said “Now me and my wife are too old to work on fields, but can still help family by staying at home to serve tourists. My family enjoy meeting people from worldwide" 

                                                        A bedroom at home-stay

Young people here often have to go to cities or China to find jobs in farming-free time. Chau is happy that now he can work right in his village as a local tour guide

 The village's women are proud that their hemp handmade products 
(including their daily costumes) are appreciated by tourists 

Beautiful landscape and nature around Nam Dam


Traditional farming works are major daily activities of villagers

Tourists enjoy trekking.
Improvement activities on the routes for tourists' convenience 
have also helped farmers access to fields easier 

A cycling route

I joined the project since November 2013 as Project Officer. Working here is like on a vacation, I can spend much time with the indigenous people and the blessed nature. Everything here are so lovely in their original ways. CBT out of control can put the community at risks of vulnerability to lose their local values and resources. Therefore, project implementation is being carried out with great care. Let's hope for a sustainable development for  Nam Dam !

A project's advertisement video: