Update: 08:30 | 26/05/2020
(BGO)- The model of homestay combined with eco-tourism in An Lac commune, Son Dong district, Bac Giang province has been shaped and become well-known for many people. Vu Ngoc Huan (44 years old), a Tay ethnic man, Secretary of the party committee of Na O village, Director of An Lac Community Tourism Service Cooperative is one of the pioneers in approaching and establishing this model.
Bold thinking makes it happen
10 years ago, Tay ethnic people in An Lac commune hadn’t had any idea about homestay tourism. Recently, local people have invested in accommodations for food, tourist guide services and art performance to serve tourists.
Vu Ngoc Huan (outermost from right), Director of An Lac Community Tourism Service Cooperative joins the group of art performances to serve tourists.
Seeing potentials and benefits from tourism with the spirit “party members go first”, Vu Ngoc Huan’s family pioneered to improve their house, garden and auxiliary constructions to do lodging service. As community-based tourism requires involvement of the whole community, he encouraged and supported his neighbors to invest in facilities and move livestock areas far away from home to meet the requirements.
“I established An Lac Community Tourism Service Cooperative in 2014 with 7 members, each of whom leads a group of services with participation of tens of Tay ethnic people”, said Vu Ngoc Huan.
Huan added, the provincial Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism has cooperated with GTV, an Italian non-governmental organization, to organize training courses in community-based tourism business for An Lac people since 2010 including cooking and tour guide skills, art performance, bee feeding, planting Vietnamese herbs, environmental sanitation, health or studying international culture.
The provincial cultural sector continues supporting in cultural preservation, providing blankets, bedding, televisions and amplifiers and building indoor toilets for the households doing tourism business. As a result, many organizations and enterprises have introduced and guided tourists to Khe Ro.
Participants of the service groups still go to do farm work or forestry on the days without tourists but whenever having tourists, they are ready to put aside their daily work to serve them.
Initially, only 3 households involved in homestay tourism but they worried about the large sum of investment (100 million VND- 4,300 USD) and small number of tourists. Moreover, most of the locals here are minority ethnic people living near the forests while tourists come from the cities or foreign countries who usually offer high demands especially in cuisine and food hygiene with language barriers.
Huan encouraged the Cooperative members to continue improving their accommodations aiming to improve living conditions of their own family first then doing tourism business. The members have self studied and taken part in the training courses organized by the competent agency.
To date, 5 households (of Tay ethnic group) in Na O village have standard facilities with capacity to serve more than 50 tourists. Apart from their available house, Vu Ngoc Huan’s family invested in a well-equipped traditional wooden building worth about 1.8 million VND (77,400 USD) to serve tourists.
In recent years, Huan’s family and other households in Na O welcomed tens of domestic and international tourist groups who stayed there from 7 to 10 days.
In line with homestay service, An Lac Community Tourism Service Cooperative provides parking service, environment cleanup, local specialties supply and tourist guide to Khe Ro eco-tourism site ensuring safety and social order.
These services help the locals earn an average income of about 3.5 million VND (150 USD) per month in summer. The Cooperative also closely collaborates with the local government and rangers to raise people’s awareness of forest protection.