Ecotourism Start-Ups Boosted by Joint Innovation Projects in Vietnam and the Philippines

Vietnam is working to maximize its potential for eco-tourism promotion, which could drive the country's tourism development.

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ECOViP is a project financed by the European Commission and coordinated by Nha Trang University. The project was launched on July 11 with the goal of fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of ecotourism. Its main objectives are to promote sustainable development in Vietnam and the Philippines, VNA reported.

Representatives from 11 partner units attended the event. Vietnamese universities represented include Nha Trang University, Can Tho University, and Thai Nguyen University of Science. International schools in attendance included the University of San Carlos, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Lyceum University Philippines – Batangas ( the Philippines); University of Portucalense (Portugal); FH Joanneum University (Austria); University of Alicante (Spain).

The Khanh Hoa Provincial Department of Tourism from Vietnam is participating in the project, along with the Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association from the Philippines.

Vietnam, Philippines Promote Innovation, Start-Up in Ecotourism
An overview of the launching ceremony of the project. Photo: VNA

The project aims to enhance entrepreneurial and innovation capabilities for sustainable tourism development in Vietnam and the Philippines, according to Trang Si Trung, the rector of Nha Trang University.

According to the representative, the university plans to work in conjunction with the business sector to enhance tourism training programs and boost students’ employability post-graduation. This collaboration aims to create a roadmap for improvement. Furthermore, ECOViP presents a unique opportunity for the university to form cooperative alliances with global partners.

Our project aims to contribute to the development of the sustainable tourism industry in Vietnam and the Philippines, while also prioritizing the conservation of the natural environment.

A three-year project will be conducted from May 2023 to May 2026. The project aims to achieve specific goals, including the establishment of six ecotourism spaces in Vietnam and the Philippines. The project’s objectives include fostering student initiatives to promote ecotourism and supporting the development of intersection start-up projects.

A total of up to 400 students, 200 lecturers, 150 officials, and 30 leaders and managers will receive comprehensive training in entrepreneurship and ecotourism.

Vietnam, Philippines Promote Innovation, Start-Up in Ecotourism
Trang Si Trung, Rector of Nha Trang University, speaks at the event. Photo: VNA

Three competitions and seminars focused on tourism startups will be organized in Vietnam and the Philippines. In addition, a comprehensive report highlighting the ecotourism landscape in both countries, accompanied by recommendations on ecotourism policy, will be officially released.

The project kick-off is scheduled to take place from now until July 14. It will include seminar sessions for exchanging ideas and field visits to assess the ecotourism situation in Khanh Hoa province.

The Vietnam Administration of Forestry reports that Vietnam currently has 33 national parks, 57 nature reserves, 13 habitat conservation areas, 53 landscape protection zones, and 9 biosphere reserves. Out of these, 61 national parks and nature reserves organize ecotourism activities.\

Vietnam is globally recognized as the 16th most biodiverse country, boasting a diverse array of natural ecosystems, species, and unique genetic resources.

The special-use forests and protected areas in Vietnam possess a rich diversity of natural and cultural tourism resources, thus creating an ideal environment for the growth and advancement of ecotourism. Moreover, the presence of ethnic minorities inhabiting the buffer zones of these nature reserves, with their distinct characteristics and traditions, also serves as a captivating attraction for tourists, as highlighted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Ecotourism activities have delivered numerous positive outcomes in terms of conserving natural ecosystems, preserving and enriching cultural values, bolstering local community incomes, and promoting conservation awareness among both the community and visitors.

Hannah Nguyen