The transition towards green and ecologically friendly tourism in the post-Covid-19 period is a positive step that requires stakeholders’ attention.

Authorities and tourism businesses strive to turn Hoi An City into a green destination by 2030.

The determination has been realized through the signing of the “Planning Framework of Business on Plastic Waste Reduction Towards Hoi An – A Green Destination (2021-2023)” between the People’s Committee of Hoi An City and Quang Nam Tourism Association held on September 30 online.

The planning framework is built based on three main activities, including connection of a waste recycling network in Hoi An, practice evaluating results at enterprise, and promoting Hoi An’s branding as a green destination.

 An overview of the online seminar is held on September 30. Photos: Green Hub

According to the authority of Quang Nam Province, due to fast tourism growth in the tourism city, waste volume generated in Hoi An has increased over the years from 65.5 tons per day in 2013 to nearly 100 tons in 2019. This surge in waste caused an overload of the city’s centralized landfill in Cam Ha Commune.

“This poses a great challenge for environmental management and the goal of building an eco-culture-tourism city of Hoi An,” Le Ngoc Tuong, Vice Director of the Quang Nam Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said.

He added the development towards green and environmentally-friendly tourism in the post-Covid period is the right direction and requires the efforts of stakeholders. “A sustainable economic and social model is possible if all stakeholders are committed to participating and facilitating waste reduction,” he underlined.

Among more than 800 travel companies and accommodation establishments in the ancient town, at least 36  are committed to joining and implementing environmentally-friendly activities for Hoi An to become a green destination.

La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa is one of the pioneering participants in the planning program.

Vuong Dinh Manh, General Director of La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa shared his ideas, advantages, and challenges in deploying the reduction of plastic waste at the facility over the last eight years. “No plastic bag” is his message for guests staying here. “Our staff says NO when guests ask for plastic bags,” he added.

He also said the facility saved a huge amount of money when replacing single-use plastic bags with those made of fabric each year. Importantly, no plastic waste is generated in their business activities, Manh underlined.

“Following the Covid-19 outbreak, tourism behavior and trends shifted towards safe, green experiences aligning with nature. Implementing adaptable solutions and efforts in company operations is crucial to ensure green tourism,” Manh said.

 Nguyen Hong Quan, Director of the Institute for Circular Economy Development under the Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City

The Covid period is actually a good opportunity for him to take time, rethink and restart in a better way. Manh believed that Hoi An will develop into a greener and environmentally sustainable place.

Along with Manh’s determination, many businesses in Hoi An City had the same idea.

Alison Batchelor, the owner of Refillables Hoi An, Central Vietnam’s first refillable concept store, said: “The future of the city will be impressive in a different way before the pandemic that everyone only knew the ancient city as a beautiful place. But now it has many different things about Hoi An because we are on the way to build a green, friendly space.”

Green sustainable plan

Speaking at the online workshop on “Circular Economy for Plastic Waste Reduction Towards Hoi An – A Green Destination and Post Covid-19 Revival” held on September 30, Phan Xuan Thanh, Chairman of Quang Nam Tourism Association said: “The corporate action framework will encourage trash reduction, plastic waste minimization and the establishment of a recycling ecosystem for a green-sustainable plan aimed at making Hoi An a green destination by 2023.”

Sharing about the city’s policy in reducing plastic waste, Nguyen Minh Ly, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Hoi An said the transition towards green and ecologically-friendly tourism in the post-Covid-19 period is a positive step that requires stakeholders’ attention.

“Economic development does not always imply an increase in waste volume. A sustainable economic and social paradigm is achievable if all stakeholders commit themselves to engaging in and facilitating waste reduction,” he said.

At the event, Nguyen Hong Quan, Director of the Institute for Circular Economy Development under the Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City recommended the city’s policies need to connect travel businesses, accommodation facilities with farmers to apply green tourism associated with digital transformation.

“The planning framework should include the criterion of no greenhouse gas emissions into the program for enterprises to implement. This will be a factor that makes Hoi An a pioneer in the provinces and cities across the country and position its image in the world,” he said.

“We implement the Local Solutions to Plastic Pollution (LSPP) project in Hoi An, funded by USAID, with a hope to motivate local initiatives in business sectors, particularly in the tourism service, connecting stakeholders, aiming at building Hoi An to become a green destination, reducing plastic waste, developing a circular economy, a basis for scaling up to other localities and the whole country.”

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Co-founder, Deputy Director of Centre for Supporting Green Development (GreenHub) 

“In the following months, we will continue to cooperate with local governments and the partner organizations to put this plan into action, hoping that more companies will participate in fostering a recycling ecosystem that contributes to reducing solid waste in general and plastic waste in particular in Hoi An.”

Bui Thi Thu Hien, Marine and Coastal Program Coordinator of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)