Polluted environments at tourism destinations are the main challenge for the industry. Littering at beaches, scenic areas and historical parks is unfortunately common. The problems in Long Hai beach (Vung Tau province), Do Son beach (Hai Phong) are very worrying. According to Mr Le Dai Nam, the director of Open Tour Company, the problem of polluted destinations of Vietnam Travel is spreading in the north. Hygiene standards and common cleanliness are too often overlooked at restaurants and cafeterias serving tourists, especially in high season. Mr Vu Quyet Thang, the director of Hoang Viet Travel JSC said, “I was ashamed but I have to say that I did witness a tourist threw the shell of a coconut and a plastic bag into the river. If I reminded them, they would not listen to me and would respond in an arrogant attitude.”
Protecting the tourism environment is the responsibility of the whole community. Tourism environment is not only hygiene, but also the sightseeing, personality, culture of communication and service attitude. In other words, the rubbish and pollution at tourism spots are as bad as aggressively competing for customers or badgering them for a purchase.
Understanding clearly the important role of protecting tourism spots in the strategy to develop the industry, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism considers “conserving and up-keeping culture values and protecting ecological environment” as the priority goal for developing sustainable tourism. Local authorities and tourism management bodies in well-developed tourism provinces such as Binh Thuan, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Da Nang, etc typically organize campaigns to clean the environment, which attracts the whole community to take part. From the companies, apart from providing coordinators and guides with awareness of protecting the environment, some companies add special activities to their tours. For example, Saigon Tourist with “Way to the forest” program, “Each tree for each one”, “Be friendly with the environment and nature” to raise awareness of protecting tourism environment for tourists.
Therefore, protecting the environment is the responsibility of the whole community. Each area’s tourism strategy should attract the participation of the whole community; help them understand the indispensable relationship between protecting tourism environment and the goals of hunger elimination and poverty reduction in the local area. Once taking part in tourism activities and benefiting from them, local people understand that protecting the tourism environment is protecting their lives. That is the solution to protecting the Vietnam tourism environment sustainably.