Enhancing Operational Efficiency at Vietnam’s World Heritage Sites

NDO—Nhan Dan recently published a Vietnamese-language story calling for an immediate end to the organisation of parties in the caverns at Ha Long Bay, which revealed typical shortcomings in the management of World Heritage Sites in Vietnam. But we must look no further than some limitations of the current management model to uncover the main cause of such confusion.


Managing Vietnam’s World Heritage Sites: Overcoming Challenges and Improving Strategies

Vietnam’s management of its eight World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites has seen varying levels of success. While some sites have been able to attract over one million visitors in 2015, others have struggled to draw tourists. It is evident that certain sites have not fully capitalized on their potential and have not effectively marketed their value to tourists. To maintain their status and ensure their preservation, it is essential to conduct research and surveys to understand the impact of tourism on these sites.

Additionally, each heritage site possesses unique characteristics that make it more appealing to tourists, such as distinct architecture or breathtaking landscapes. Investment strategies should be tailored to attract visitors to each site, taking into consideration their individual features. Furthermore, comprehensive plans should be implemented to effectively manage visitors and ensure the preservation of these sites.

There are also concerns regarding the methods employed by certain heritage sites to attract tourists, as they may have negative effects on the environment or geological structures. When large numbers of tourists pose a threat to the site or its surroundings, alternative approaches should be considered, such as increased fees or the development of additional tourism sites in the area.

Optimizing the Management of Vietnam’s World Heritage Sites

The current management of Vietnam’s world heritage sites follows diverse models, resulting in overlapping responsibilities and a lack of clearly defined functions. To address this issue, it is crucial to establish a flexible, scientific, and effective management model supported by a strong legal framework. International experts have recommended the establishment of a World Heritage Committee in Vietnam, inspired by successful models in other countries. In response, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is in the process of drafting a decree to govern the management of world heritage sites in Vietnam. This decree aims to preserve and promote the value of these sites. However, it is important to manage potential conflicts between development interests and conservation tasks, with some experts suggesting prioritizing the preservation of the sites and exploring their full potential and value.