Oct 28, 2012

Vietnam - Travel firms launch charity tours diffidently, exploring situation

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VietNamNet Bridge – Charity tours have been added into the lists of tourism products offered by travel firms. However, the firms still keep very cautious in developing the new product.

Go traveling and making charity

In fact, charity programs have appeared on the “menus” of many inbound tours designed for high end travelers for a long time. However, charity tours have just become a new tendency among people who love traveling for discoveries.

Vietravel Hanoi has become the first travel firm in Vietnam that runs an advertisement campaign for charity tourism, having designed the tours to northern mountainous provinces, where ethnic minorities live.

With the new tourism products, travelers not only can enjoy the sightseeing, explore the nature and culture of the high land, but also can be closer to local people with charitable activities to be organized at schools, mountainous villages. They would also be able to donate books, mosquito nets, blankets and clothes to local children, to help improve the quality of local people’s meals, or deliver medicines to them free of charge.

Duong Mai Lan, a senior executive of Vietravel Hanoi, said the launching of the tours associated with social purposes has led to the sharp increase in the number of travelers since 2011 and the diversification of the travelers.

Hanoi Redtours and Vietran Tour have also added charity programs into the tours from Hanoi to the northern provinces of Ha Giang, Lai Chau, Cao Bang, Bac Kan and Dien Bien. With the tours, travelers would be able to visit nursery schools, primary schools, donate clothes and join extracurricular activities with ethnic minority children.

Especially, an executive of Hanoi Redtours said the firm sets up low fees for the tours, while it does not strive for profits when developing the tours. However, this would help attract travelers to the destinations remaining unfamiliar to many people.

Meanwhile, Vietran Tour encourages travelers to bring old clothes, books, pens and sweets with themselves, so that they can donate to local children if they want.

Thu Anh from Vietran Tour said that charity tours have been applauded by travelers, especially those who are office workers or middle aged people.

The tours have also attracted young travelers, who love discovery trips and want to learn more about the local traditions and culture. Meanwhile, charity activities would help them do that, while making the trips more interesting.

The hurdles on the way

Though having realized the attractiveness of the new type of tourism, travel firms still have not developed the tours in a large scale.

Lan from Vietravel said travel firms have to take very costly and careful field-works in order to design the tours. It takes a lot of time to discuss with local authorities about the plans, seek information about the people who need help, draw up charity plans, and follow a lot of other procedures.

In some cases, it takes more time than planned to design a tour, mostly because of the obstacles relating to the administrative works.

In general, big travel firms would find it easier to contact local authorities and organize larger scale charity activities. This explains why small travel firms still keep hesitant about the tours.

Deputy Director of Hanoi Redtours has affirmed that charity tourism would develop strongly in the future thanks to its high sociability and competitive tour fees. Meanwhile, local authorities can cooperate with travel firms to attract more travelers by setting up reasonable policies to attract tourists.

To Quoc

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