Develop homestay and lesson learned from Lao Cai

Homestay for tourist on tours to Vietnam, such as tour Thailand Cambodia Vietnam and tour Vietnam Cambodia Laosbrings a lot of advantages to increase living standards of poor families especially ethnic minorites. However, there are some weaknesses which call for solutions.

Lack of suitable strategies

As regards homestay potentials, Mrs. Mc Keon, head of Consulting Group of EU project said “Vietnam has a diversified culture which formed from 54 ethnic groups. With such strength, Vietnam stands a good chance of becoming a country of homestay If it comes up with good management and sustainable strategies”

Developed 10 years ago, homestay is existing in almost every province in the North , central area and highlands of Vietnam. However, according to Mr. Duong Minh Binh, director of CBT company which deals with homestay tourism, homestay in Vietnam shows certain improvements but there are some limitations. It is spontaneous and does not have specific management plans. Most of homestay services are supplied by local people. Therefore, they are not efficient and lack support from enterprises. Besides, their awareness of preserving environment is poor.

Mrs. Pham Thanh Tam, head of Domestic Travelling Office said “The main purpose of this type of tourism is sightseeing. Exploring local people’s lifestyle and learning about cultural traditions and customs are limited”. There is a lack of administrative plans. Local people do not know how to make homestay effectively. Besides, homestay advertising is poor and depends heavily on unspecialized organizations.  

Sapa - Lao Cai

Sapa – Lao Cai

Lao Cai homestay, a striking model.

According to Mr Tran Huu Son, head of culture sports and tourism department, homestay appeared in Lao Cai a long time ago. However, as there was not supporting plans to help local people borrow money, it was not efficient. In 2010, local authority cooperated with some universities and colleges of tourism to study and compile a textbook of homestay tourism. This textbook was integrated in curriculum in 2013.

Mr. Ngo Trung Ha, lecturer of Hanoi tourism college said that the course aims at people from ethnic minorities. The course lasts 12 days and teachers will teach students about home decoration, communication skills and cooking skill. Besides, the course shows local people about money management skills. People used to spend money inappropriately and they did not know whether they had made profit or not. This course will train them how to make money sustainably.

At present, there are 300 people participating in the course. So far, Lao Cai has 12 homestay spots and living standards are being raised. Some families have income of 40-50 million per year. Mr. Tran Huu Son said, from the successful model, Lao Cai has shared the textbook to surrounding provinces such as Bac Kan and Ha Giang. In the future, it will be integrated in 8 provinces in Northwest. He also said that in 2013, the number of homestay tourists was 145752, giving a total revenue of 29 billion dong. This indicates the success of homestay tourism in Lao Cai.

We hope that homestay in Vietnam as long as Vietnam travel packages will reach greater development in the future.