Promotion of community travel in Cu village, Tu Ne commune, Tan Lac district, Hoa Binh province
Establishing community-based tourism is a component of two projects, namely “Restoration and Conservation of Mường Culture through Ecotourism in Tử Nê and Thanh Hối Commune, Tân Lạc District, Hòa Bình Province” and “The Poor and Capacity Building”. The goal of community-based tourism is to (1), protect the environment, (2) preserve Muong culture and indigenous knowledge, and (3), improve the living conditions of people in the two communes. After the project ended in 2011, Cú Village people have operated all activities on their own with some support from CECAD. However, limited communication skills and the lack of access to tourism advertising methods made it impossible for them to attract many tourists and tourism companies. The tourism activity was not as successful as expected.
Although the project has ended, CECAD still wanted to help people to develop local tourism, so we contacted several travel agencies in Hà Nội to seek investment and professional knowledge in tourism. One of those agencies was HG Travel. In October 2011, HG sent its first survey team to Cú Village. In March 2012, HG decided to continue the project to develop community travel in Cú Village throughout the year, eliciting happiness and excitement from the people. During the project, HG supported the locals financially to upgrade the infrastructure; supplied facilities and amenities for homestays and travel groups; designed varied tour options; provided training courses on service orientation, tour guiding and operation; promoted the Cú Village through HG’s marketing channels.
However, when the HG project ended after a year, community-based tourism of Cú village still only attracted a small number of tourists. Nevertheless, with much persistence, CECAD and HG sat together again and formulated the idea of a launch event to promote community travel in Cú Village
After 2 months of preparation, the launch event was held on 11 October 2013 with the participation of local authorities, representatives from 80 travel companies in Hà Nội, HG Travel, CECAD, and the local people. Through the promotion ceremony, the guests had a chance to learn more about the development progress of community tourism in Tử Nê and Thanh Hối, join the tour, experience the daily lives of the people, enjoy Mường cuisine, watch traditional dance, taste natural honey produced in Tu Ne, and soak their feet in medicinal plants.
Although the ceremony lasted for only one day, thanks to the careful arrangements by the organizers, the guests had experienced many activities. This event attracted more and more tourists to Cú village, which contributed to Muong culture preservation and improvement in the income of the local people.
Written by Pham Dieu Linh