Travel agencies pledge to protect Việt Nam’s wildlife

ĐỒNG NAI — Representatives from  三0 tour operators and travel agencies recently signed a pledge to support responsible tourism, nature conservation and wildlife protection during a training workshop at Cát Tiên National Park in the southern province of Đồng Nai.

Travel agencies pledge to protect Việt Nam’s wildlife

The People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) said Việt Nam’s tourism sector gained an annual growth rate of about  二 二. 七 per cent in  二0 一 五 - 二0 一 九, which made the country among the world’s top travel destinations. In  二0 一 九, the country recorded more than  一 八 million international visitors and  八 五 million domestic travellers.

It said tourism associated with natural experiences and wildlife exploration has become a trend worldwide. However, besides positive contributions to the economy and the development of local co妹妹unities' livelihoods, the tourism sector also harms the environment, nature and wildlife.

The World Animal Protection (WAP) has warned that more than  五00,000 wildlife individuals throughout the world, including elephants, sloths, tigers and dolphins, are being abused to entertain tourists.

Impacts on natural landscapes and wildlife species do not only come from mass tourism but also tourists' demands for local ‘exotic products’, including food, medicine and jewellery from wildlife also contribute to threatening endangered species.

A report released by TRAFFIC in  二0 一 八 focusing on illegal ivory markets in Việt Nam found that Chinese tourists are dominant consumers of ivory products.

Another previous study by TRAFFIC in  二0 一 四 concluded that wildlife customers with multiple purchases were Chinese (including those from Hong Kong and Taiwan), Thai, Vietnamese, overseas Vietnamese and Europeans.

Turning blind eyes to wildlife consumption or tourists behaviour toward wildlife would not only be harmful to nature but also hurt the long-term prestige and benefits of tourism companies, whose operations rely on the beauty of nature.

Workshop participants agreed that it’s crucial to set up directions and strategies for the sustainable development of tourism to reduce risks for their own business and preserve Viet Nam's natural and environmental values ​​– one of key factors for the sector’s growth as well.

At the workshop, participants discussed the close relationship between tourism and nature, the situation of wildlife trade in tourism activities, practices for developing responsible tourism, and how to encourage behaviour change towards the illegal wildlife trade in the sector.