Floating village tries eco-tourism


Update: June, 24/2017 – 09:00

Boats carry visitors to Vung Viêng floating fishing village in Quảng Ninh Province. The village is promoting responsible tourism with fish farms and tours friendly to environment. — Photo baoquangninh.com.vn

QUẢNG NINH — The floating Vung Viêng fishing village in Hạ Long Bay, northeastern Quảng Ninh Province usually hosts about 15,000 visitors each month. During peak periods the number of visitors soars to 21,000.

On arrival in the village, visitors are welcomed to have meals with local residents, go fishing and sightseeing around the village.

They also have the chance to experience the daily lives of people and children living there. Many of them bring presents, like books, pens, clothes for children or tools for adults.

Visitors, seeking eco-tourism or responsible tourism experiences, are flocking to the fishing villages in ever greater numbers.

The village started as a shelter for boats traveling to Vụng Hà Islet in the centre of Hạ Long Bay. It takes about three hours by boat to travel from the shore to the floating village.

By 2014, the village was home to 260 people, living in 60 floating houses. That year, residents of Vung Viêng were relocated to land, but they still continue to raise and catch fish in the area.

Since the move, things have changed significantly for the villagers.

Instead of using live trash fish [small fish with little economic value] as feed, fish farms there now use industrial fish feed.

Tăng Văn Phiến, head of Vạn Chài Hạ Long Tourism Co-operative said that the use of trash fish could threaten the marine environment and production because the supply was unstable and its quality is easily degraded if the trash fish was not stored properly.

The trash fish can carry diseases that threaten other species, Phiến said.

He said that since April, 2016, fish farms in Vung Viêng floating village were given assistance to build floating houses and fish cages that are made of environmentally-friendly materials.

Phiến said that the assistance was part of the Hạ Long – Cát Bà Alliance Project, a three-year initiative funded by the United State Agency for International Development, which aims to build partnerships between Government, businesses and civil society. The aim is to catalyse action in order to improve environmental management and protect the natural integrity of the Ha Long Bay World Heritage Site, including the Cat Ba Archipelago.

Under the project, 32 floating houses would be used as a tourism product of Vung Viêng floating village. Until now, seven floating houses have been opened for visitors.

Nguyễn Văn Huân, a member of the Vạn Chài Co-operative said that he was happy to learn about environmentally-friendly fish farms.

Since April this year, his family has started growing fish in the new fish cages with industrial feed thanks to assistance from the Alliance Project.

Huân said that the first members developing environmentally-friendly fish farms would raise funds which offered preferential loans to other members of the co-operative.

Head of the co-operatives Phiến said that the co-operatives was established in 2008 with the aim of developing new tourism products in Hạ Long Bay, and help improve incomes for locals.

As many as 115 local residents were offered to work as boatmen for tours to Vung Viêng Village. Each earns on average VNĐ5-6 million monthly.

“As the number of visitors to the village increases, even up to 21,000 visitors in a month during peak time, the area’s environment faces a heavier burden, particularly the increased amount of waste,” Phiến said.

The co-operatives arranged for two people to collect garbage and the boatmen were also asked to help in cleaning up, he said.

Deputy director of Quảng Ninh Province’s Agriculture Department Nguyễn Văn Công said the model to develop eco-tourism in Hạ Long Bay had proved effective, particularly in improving local residents’ income and attracting tourists.

He said that those results proved the need for improved awareness about responsible tourism among Government, businesses, local residents and tourists. — VNS

This entry was posted in Di sản Thế giới UNESCO - UNESCO World Heritage, Du lịch sinh thái - ecotourism, Du lịch văn hóa - Cultural tourism, Quảng Ninh and tagged , , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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