To achieve breakthrough and exploit the potential and strengths of the Northeast region for adventure tourism development, localities need to establish specific mechanisms and policies to attract strategic investors. At the same time, each locality should create a distinctive tourism product to avoid duplication and monotony.
According to Nguyen Anh Tuan, the Director of the Institute for Tourism Development Research, the current trend of tourists is highly interested in activities such as exploring ecological landscapes, indigenous cultures, and engaging in adventure tourism. However, these tourism products have not been fully exploited to their potential.
Aiming for high-spending markets
The Northeast region is evaluated as having significant potential for developing adventure tourism due to its diverse and unique geographical features. It boasts high mountainous terrain, steep slopes, and diverse landscapes, including the Dong Van Rock Plateau, Tay Con Linh Peak, Non Nuoc Cao Bang Geopark, and various rivers, streams, lakes, and waterfalls such as the Nho Que River in Ha Giang, Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang, and Ba Be Lake in Bac Kan. The region also offers exploration opportunities in deep and complex caves like Ngom Ngao Cave in Cao Bang, Tien Cave in Ha Giang, and Nang Tien Cave in Cao Bang, as well as picturesque landscapes and ecosystems like Ba Be National Park in Bac Kan, and Phja Oac – Phja Den National Park in Cao Bang.
Furthermore, the area is rich in ethnic minority villages and communities that conserve unique cultural values, customs, traditions, clothing, architecture, and traditional crafts. Adventure tourism products in the Northeast can be broadly categorized into three groups: airborne adventure tourism, land-based adventure tourism, and underwater adventure tourism.
To better exploit adventure tourism, the research group at the Institute for Tourism Development has proposed several solutions. For the domestic market, the focus is on attracting young and middle-aged tourists by combining adventure tourism with other types of tourism. For the international market, the emphasis is on attracting tourists from Northeast Asian countries, with priority given to markets in Europe, Australia, and North America, which have high spending capacity and longer stays. The plan also involves gradually expanding to Southeast Asian, Asian, and potential markets such as India, Russia, and Brazil.
Moreover, there is an emphasis on promoting and advertising, strengthening collaboration between the National Administration of Tourism, the Tourism Association, and local tourism departments in developing strategies, programs, and promotional plans for adventure tourism. Localities are encouraged to participate in promotion activities organized by the National Administration of Tourism and the Tourism Association in key markets, new markets, and potential adventure tourism destinations. Localities are also encouraged to collaborate with businesses and the Tourism Association to promote and link their provincial tourism image with the branding of adventure tourism products offered by these businesses. Enhancing cooperation between Northeastern provinces and extending partnerships with the Northwestern region and other mountainous regions in the North is crucial to building unique tourism products.
From the local perspective, Pham Van Manh, the Director of Vietnam Expeditions, pointed out that Vietnam has numerous natural wonders and favorable terrain for developing adventure tourism. However, most of these areas are currently being underutilized with simple and insufficient products, resulting in wasted resources. Developing new adventure tourism products not only brings revenue to the localities and benefits their residents but also enhances the competitiveness of each locality’s tourism sector.
Building a focal point model to attract international tourists.
Representatives from localities such as Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Lang Son, all agree that adventure tourism is a distinctive product that they are very interested in. The geographical terrain, geology, climate, and nature in the Northeast region are highly favorable for developing this type of tourism. However, the development of adventure tourism products still faces difficulties in terms of organization, scale, funding, infrastructure, collaboration between localities and tourism businesses, human resources, promotion, and marketing.
In order to fully harness the potential of adventure tourism, besides having specific mechanisms and policies to attract strategic investors, each locality needs to develop a unique tourism product to avoid duplication and monotony. Furthermore, there should be enhanced collaboration and coordination between different levels, sectors, and localities in managing the exploitation of tourism resources and regulating adventure tourism activities according to the standards and regulations of relevant sectors.
The representative from the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Cao Bang province stated that their focus for the 2021-2025 period is to build attractive cave exploration programs, particularly in the Non Nuoc Cao Bang Geopark. Additionally, they aim to establish linked adventure tourism tours with other provinces in the region to develop adventure sports tourism products. Similarly, the representative from the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Ha Giang emphasized the importance of conducting feasibility assessments and accurate direction for potential adventure tourism products, ensuring that they align with the existing tourism resources and avoiding overlapping with other tourism projects. They also proposed that the National Administration of Tourism select certain localities with suitable conditions to organize events to promote adventure tourism products on a national and international scale, aiming to develop them into branded products that can attract international tourists.