Tam Ky, Vietnam 26 February 2016- Tam Ky People’s Committee, UN-Habitat, the Cities Alliance and International Urban Training Centre this week held an international workshop “Community based eco-cultural tourism development for Tam Ky City”

“The central region is one of key development areas of the country, especially given its tourism strengths thanks to a pleasant year-round climate, beautiful beaches, rich local cultural identity, and upgraded infrastructure, all of which we can see in Tam Ky. The closest collaborator is regional economic hub of Danang City. If Tam Ky follows that same path as Danang, we wouldn’t necessarily succeed due to the unique conditions here. We need to clarify the difference between Danang and Tam Ky in terms of ecotourism development. Tam Ky’s green city strategy can be considered a strength and unique point for us,” said Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Planning Department Director Vu Quang Cac.

Quang Nam Province’s economy currently consists of 40% for industry, 40% tourism and 10% agriculture. Tourism is a core component of the economic development of the province. Some 1.16 billion USD has been invested into Quang Nam over recent years, and this figure is expected to increase to 1.60 billion USD within the next 5 years in terms of provincial development.

“With limited resources from the provincial budget, Tam Ky needs to prioritise its investment. In addition, once the city has a good master plan and city development strategy, we can introduce ourselves to investors and development partners, providing a way of highlighting natural resources and local assets, creating a unique combination of local characteristics to attract investment” added Mr Vu Quang Cac.

Tam Ky City is located some 70 kilometres from Danang city to the north, about 30 kilometres from Chu Lai Airport, Ky Ha Port and Chu Lai Open Economic Zone. The city benefits from beautiful natural landscape. To the west is Phu Ninh Lake, while the city boasts an 8-kilometre coast line. The city is also home to a group of cultural, religious and historical sites.

“Tourism development is also a part of national economic development. We see the potential of co-operation in the central region, creating a regional tourism hub. We need to develop the city strategy through sustainable tourism projects”. International urban development consultant Tristan Morel, suggested Song Dam Lagoon also offered Tam Ky ample potential.

Nguyen Quang, UN-Habitat Programme Manager said “In order to have sustainable tourism development, community participation must play a vital role. Communities are also a tourism resource because they create local culinary, artistic activities, craft villages, farming and interacting with a local community is part of any cultural experience. They can directly participate in serving tourists. And they are also a key factor in protecting natural resources, cultural heritage and traditional customs.”

Experience from the US and South Korea in ecotourism development were also highlighted at the workshop. Prof. Kim Kwi Gon, Director of International Urban Training Centre said “In a market economy, if you want to sell product well, in this case, ecotourism, you need different levels of branding, certification, and marketing. They will help you attract more people with national and international recognition, distinguish ecotourism from mass tourism so that people can understand the value of ecotourism and prove their willingness to buy the product”.