In recent years, adventure tourism has been given significant attention and development by many provinces and cities, becoming a distinctive and attractive tourism product. However, despite being evaluated as having many advantages for developing this type of tourism, adventure tourism in Vietnam has not yet fully realized and exploited its potential…
Trend of development
At the online seminar “Developing adventure tourism products in Northeast Vietnam” held in late September 2021, the Director of the Institute for Tourism Development Research, Nguyen Anh Tuan, stated that adventure tourism is a growing trend and increasingly popular worldwide, attracting many travelers seeking exploration and unique experiences. With its abundant mountains, caves, and waterways, Vietnam has significant potential for developing adventure tourism.
Adventure tourism can be divided into several product categories: Aerial adventure tourism (such as helicopter tours, paragliding, skydiving…), Land-based adventure tourism (outdoor activities, mountain climbing, hiking, tightrope walking…), and Water-based adventure tourism (kayaking, waterfall exploration, scuba diving…).
In reality, adventure tourism has been a distinctive and sought-after niche in the travel industry, with many tour operators exploiting it. Several provinces and cities, including Ha Giang, Bac Kan, Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Quang Ninh, Quang Binh, Nghe An, and Hanoi, have implemented strategies to promote adventure tours. Remarkable examples in the Northwest region include conquering Fansipan Peak (Lao Cai province), Bach Moc Luong Tu (Lai Chau province), Tay Con Linh Mountain (Ha Giang province), Ban Gioc Waterfall (Cao Bang province), and exploring caves in Ba Be National Park (Bac Kan province). In the Central region, adventure tourism stands out with cave exploration in Quang Binh province and conquering Pu Xai Lai Leng Peak (Nghe An province). In Hanoi, the Management Board of Ba Vi National Park has been organizing mountain climbing and exploration tours for several years.
As an adventure tour operator and developer of new products (long-distance trekking, mountain climbing, cave exploration), Pham Van Manh, the Director of Vietnam Expeditions Company, emphasized that adventure tours can only be organized for groups of up to 20 people and require thorough preparation to ensure safety. Adventure tourism is providing opportunities for localities, especially in mountainous areas. It is a product category with the potential to attract long-stay tourists and higher spending.
Special mechanisms and policies are needed
Despite its many potentials and advantages, adventure tourism in Vietnam is still relatively unknown to many. According to Deputy Director of the Institute for Tourism Development Research, Truong Sy Vinh, there are limitations in terms of organization and infrastructure at the local level for developing adventure tourism. Additionally, the connection between localities and tourism businesses is not strong, leading to fragmented and inconsistent development.
According to Vu The Binh, Deputy Permanent Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, to fully tap into the potential of adventure tourism, localities need to have specific mechanisms and policies to attract strategic investors. Each locality should develop distinctive products, avoiding duplication and monotony.
For travel companies, enhancing collaboration between different sectors and localities in managing and exploiting tourism resources is essential. Localities should collaborate with reputable travel companies to conduct surveys, build products, and implement safety criteria for tourists.
To improve the quality of adventure tourism products, apart from investing in infrastructure, localities need to focus on training their local guides to meet the required standards. “To develop adventure tourism while ensuring safety for tourists, organizers must enhance their professionalism in providing advice on health, insurance, and equip travelers with essential tools while warning them about risks,” said the experts.
Adventure tourism is being prioritized for development to bring benefits to localities and organizers. However, according to Tran Trung Hieu, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Tourism Department, to make this type of tourism attractive to visitors and ensure sustainable growth, localities need long-term strategies in attracting investment and establishing safety standards for tourists and environmental protection.