Hoi An: Promoting Non-Smoking Tourism

Director Nguyen Thanh Hong announced the Hoi An People’s Committee’s efforts to raise awareness about the harmful effects of smoking through public campaigns and conferences from 2011-15.

In late 2021, the concept of non-smoking tourism was incorporated into the green tourism criteria established by the locality to foster environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism practices across hotels, travel agencies, resorts, community-based tourism initiatives, homestays, and destinations.

Quang Nam province has been a pioneer in promoting green tourism criteria encompassing waste reduction, recycling, energy conservation, and plastic-free consumption.

“Hoi An city, a UNESCO-recognized world heritage site, has successfully implemented a non-engine zone for decades. Outreach on non-smoking in public spaces has been underway for years in communities, attractions, and public areas,” Hong remarked.

“We intend to promote the ‘non-smoking’ destination message among travel agencies, resorts, destinations, restaurants, and shopping areas. We will also raise awareness within the community about refraining from smoking in public places.

Since 2022, Hoi An has designated the old quarter and an expanded area in the city’s west as pedestrian zones from 9am to 11am and 3pm to 9:30pm during the rainy season and 10pm in summer. Motorbikes and vehicles with engines are allowed access for four hours daily and during the evening.

According to Huong Giang, a member of Hoi An city’s tourist support center, the communications campaign also emphasized smoking-related illnesses and the strict penalties for violations in smoke-free areas. Warnings are printed on vouchers and entrance tickets at Hoi An destinations.

Vice chairman of the Hoi An Tourism Association Vo Phung stated that Hoi An has launched a campaign to promote responsible behavior and hospitality within the community to create a friendly tourism environment and encourage courteous conduct.

It encourages the local community to refrain from littering, excessive honking in traffic, harassing tourists, or making loud noises in public places.

In previous years, Hoi An also initiated a plan to promote cycling among government agencies and the local community. Bicycles remain a popular transportation mode for tourists and expatriates.

At least 100 hotels, homestays, villas, restaurants, and travel agencies in Quang Nam and Hoi An have committed to reducing plastic waste and establishing a ‘zero plastic waste tourism’ brand. Restaurants and coffee shops have begun using straws, containers, and souvenirs made from bamboo and reed instead of single-use plastics, as per a report from the Quang Nam Provincial Tourism Association.

Designated as an eco-friendly and environmentally conscious destination in Vietnam, Hoi An boasts over 1,000 accommodations, including 43 hotels ranging from 3 to 5 stars, 380 restaurants, and 21 destinations.

Currently, 80% of government offices have banned smoking, while 110 restaurants and hotels have designated smoking areas or declared smoke-free zones.

Smoking is prohibited on all public buses, in schools, and in hospitals under the 2011-25 no-smoking campaign.

The city has allocated bike lanes, aiming to incorporate 100,000 bicycles into daily commutes.

The central province, home to UNESCO-recognized world heritage sites like Hoi An and My Son Sanctuary, and the Hoi An-Cham Islands biosphere reserve, welcomed 7.5 million tourists in 2023. This includes 3.8 million international visitors, generating revenue of 7.95 trillion VND (US$318 million).

Hong emphasized that the Quang Nam tourism industry, contributing approximately 10% to the Gross Regional Domestic Product, aims to build sustainable tourism by prioritizing environmental protection, conservation, waste recycling, and emissions reduction.