Tourism Industry Encouraged to Decrease Plastic Pollution

The Vietnam Tourism Association has announced the launch of a competition to create tools to help manage plastic waste in the tourism sector.

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Local governments in Vietnam are being urged to strictly regulate tourism-related activities to reduce plastic waste and establish procedures and regulations to facilitate sustainable and eco-friendly travel.

 Residents join the campaign “Green Tourism Week” of Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province – Giving trash baskets to the boatmen with the message “Carrying green – Breathing well”. Photo: Ninh Binh newspaper

At the Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM-Hanoi 2023) seminar in Hanoi, Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, Vu The Binh, implored businesses to search for sustainable alternatives to plastic in order to create a value chain with suppliers, as well as other solutions to draw in international tourists and safeguard the environment.

He mentioned a project was recently launched to reduce plastic waste in the tourism industry by the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) and the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, an agency of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Binh stated that this project involves two areas of Vietnam: Hoi An Ancient City in the northern province of Ninh Binh, and Gia Vien District in the central province of Quang Nam. Both areas have seen initial success as a result of the project.

 Vu My Hanh, a representative of the waste management group at source in Hoi An speaks at the event. 

According to Vu My Hanh, a representative of the waste management group at the Hoi An source, the most impactful aspect of the project is the ecosystem that has been developed as a result of the program. Everyone is actively involved in recycling and reducing plastic waste, which has had a significant effect on the environment.

There are 27 businesses in Hoi An that offer cleaning products such as dishwashing liquid, floor cleaner, and cleaning vinegar in refillable containers. These businesses include coffee shops, homestays, restaurants, and more. By choosing to purchase from these businesses, you are supporting a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle and helping to reduce the amount of single-use plastic items in the environment.

La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa estimates that it has successfully eradicated approximately 3.5 tons of plastic per year. Moreover, Silk Sense Hoi An River Resort has managed to reduce the usage of 20,000 disposable plastic bottles in a span of one and a half years by making the switch from plastic to glass water bottles.

Pham Ha, CEO of Lux Group, a cruise ship operator in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh province, in the north of Vietnam, has emphasized the need for tourist destinations to take more responsibility in making the country a green destination, and to use this as a strength. He highlighted Hoi An as an example of success, and noted that it has been able to draw a large number of visitors from Western Europe, who have stayed for extended periods of time. “Hoi An has done well and attracted many Western European tourists to come and stay for a long time,” he said.

Meanwhile, fishermen in Ha Long Bay had to dismantle their aquaculture farms after the practice was forbidden, causing devastating environmental damage.

According to VITA, the residents of Ha Long Bay generate an average of four tons of garbage daily, predominantly composed of plastic waste. Unfortunately, plastic pollution is not limited to this area; many other places around the world are also being adversely impacted.

Sam Son, a city in the central province of Thanh Hoa, produces an average of 105 tons of waste each day, of which 24% is plastic waste. In comparison, the central city of Danang disposing of around 1,100 tons of waste each day, with 17%, or 20.8 tons, being plastic waste.

In Tuy Hoa City, in the southern province of Phu Yen, plastic waste accounts for a staggering 18.31% of the 524 tons of waste generated daily. In Rach Gia City, Kien Giang Province, the amount of plastic waste per day is even more alarming, reaching 32.1 tons – a full 19% of the 155 tons of waste generated daily. This amount of plastic waste is incredibly concerning, and highlights the need for urgent changes in how plastic is produced and disposed of.

 La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa staff and employees are cleaning up the trash around the facility. Photo: La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa

Every year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans. This is an alarming situation, since this plastic waste is not only polluting the waters but also killing marine life.

Statistical reports from the Institute for Tourism Development Research (ITDR), WWF, and the People’s Committees of several provinces reveal that the amount of plastic waste in tourist destinations is on the rise. According to estimates, around 8 million tons of plastic are entering the oceans annually, causing a great deal of environmental damage. This plastic waste not only pollutes the waters, but also has a devastating effect on marine life, leading to the death of many animals and species.

The ITDR warned that if no action is taken, the amount of plastic waste discarded by tourists in 2030 will be three times higher than in 2019, at around 336,400 tons per year.

Vu Quoc Tri, Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, has highlighted the importance of tourism industry workers actively helping to reduce the negative impact on the environment and encouraging tourists to participate in reducing plastic waste, especially in light of the current situation. He stated, “People working in the tourism industry have to help minimize the negative impact on the environment and proactively encourage tourists to participate in reducing plastic waste.”

The seminar attendees concurred that replicating the two models of Hoi An and Gia Vien in other destinations throughout the nation would be necessary to create a beneficial ripple effect in reducing plastic waste in tourism and assist in achieving sustainable tourism development objectives in Vietnam.

On this momentous occasion, VITA is announcing an exciting competition to develop a plastic waste management application for the tourism industry. This application will provide a creative solution to the problem of plastic waste, helping to reduce the environmental impact of tourism businesses. Participants will be given the opportunity to develop a creative and innovative application that will have a positive impact on the environment. The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize and recognition for their efforts. So don’t miss out – join the competition and make a difference today!