YESD: Responsible tourism organization in Vietnam

Vietnam is a country very much in recovery; though the war may have ended four decades ago, its effects linger on. US sanctions – lifted only in 1994 – have stunted the country’s economic growth; unexploded landmines plague farmers and children; and land poisoned by chemical weapons remains unable to produce much-needed food. Faced with these horrors, it’s a wonder that the Vietnamese culture remains as vibrant and enticing as it is – but it’s also understandable that their need for employment and sustenance often takes priority over the conservation of their landscapes, as tourism development marches on, unchecked, and is now spreading into some of the most pristine regions.
There is still much to celebrate here – the forests, coastline, islands and traditional villages are astonishingly beautiful, and visiting these places in a respectful way contributes to their conservation – as well as showing the Vietnamese people that tourism can be carried out in a way that gives back to the land and culture, rather than taking from it.


Tourism industry is one of the key factors of the sustainable development of UNWTO. Recently many organizations and social enterprises like YESD have focused on developing responsible tourism, which are towards promoting sustainable tourism. YESD Social Enterprise has supported local ethnic communities run their own business with a motto “YESD – an authentic Vietnam – better places to live and visit”.Just imagine how the local communities face to the covid disadvantaged situation if they invest to change their traditional houses to luxury hotels or resorts?
* 1. Firstly they have a big debt. Because of the pandemic, there are no guests coming that means they would not have an opportunity to earn money.
* 2. No authentic experiences for future guests. Do you want to experience different cultures and traditions while traveling by sleeping at a local family in their traditional houses or at a hotel like other places?
* 3. Finally, it’s not for sustainable development goal.
What do YESD’s local suppliers do while there are no guests coming because of the covid? * They are farmers and still work on their rice paddies. That is the way our Responsible Tourism works “Better places to live and visit”.  * YESD trains their local suppliers to be greater tour guides, accommodation hosts and influencers. * And more than that, get more details here

* Never purchase items from endangered species. Sea turtle shells and eggs are particularly prized in Vietnam, along with wild animal skins and ivory. As well as threatening the species, this is also illegal and you could end up with hefty fines or worse. The same applies to wild meat – as well as promoting poaching, it can also carry a risk of disease.

* If snorkelling or diving, be sure to travel with a responsible operator. Never touch or step on coral, and report any operator who drops anchor on live coral.

* Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Much of Vietnam is still very conservative, especially in rural areas, and going nude or topless on beaches is never appropriate.

* Be discreet about showing affection in public – it’s not as culturally acceptable as it is elsewhere.

* Vietnamese people make up for their conservative dress by asking impertinent questions – it’s not uncommon to be asked about your marital status, income or family by a virtual stranger – but be polite even if you don’t want to answer directly. It’s all just part of the culture.

* Never touch anyone’s head – it is the highest point of the body and must be respected. And never show the soles of your feet. These are the symbolic “lowest” point of the body, and this is an extremely offensive gesture.Much of Vietnam is still incredibly poor. 

* Shopping at local stalls, eating in local restaurants, tipping guides, hotel and restaurant staff will have a huge impact on their income. However, giving sweets to children should be avoided, as should giving money to children in the street – even if they are selling something.

* If you do want to take photos of local people – ask permission. It’s polite, respectful, and a wonderful opportunity to strike up a conversation. You’ll come away with a memory of the encounter, and not just a photo. And if they are uncomfortable with it – respect that, and leave them in peace.

* Try and hire a local guide if possible – you’ll put money back into the local community, and get to learn from someone who really knows the area and culture. Taking a cyclo tour is another great way to support the local economy, and support a trade which is dying out in favour of taxis and motorcycles.

We are ready to welcome you to visit Vietnam. Join YESD Responsible Tourism and let’s make tourism great again.#responsibletourism #yesdVietnam #yesdresponsibletours #sdgs
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