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Vietnam Aims to Develop Rural Tourism Through Digital Transformation

Vietnam is taking measures to develop rural tourism through digital transformation, as the effective development of rural tourism will contribute to turning tourism into a spearhead economic sector and promote sustainable new-style rural area building. According to a news report, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism held an online forum to promote rural tourism products through digital transformation.

The development of rural tourism in the National Target Programme on New-style Rural Development in the 2021-2025 period aims to create jobs, raise incomes, and promote a rural economic structure shift through digital transformation. It will also help preserve traditional cultural values and protect the environment. The Vice-Chairman of the Vietnam Handicraft Exporters Association (Vietcraft), Le Ba Ngoc, noted that rural and ecological tourism accounts for about 10% of the sector in general and generates about US$30 billion in revenue per year globally. Additionally, the annual growth rate of rural tourism is from 10-30%, while that of traditional tourism is only 4%, the report said.

Vietnam currently has three types of rural tourism: community-based tourism, agricultural tourism, and ecotourism. The country has about 365 rural tourist spots and more than 2,000 traditional craft villages with the potential for tourism. Digital transformation in rural tourism will help attract more visitors, assist tourists to prepare their trips easily, provide better services, and better understand customer behaviours.

To develop rural tourism, Ngoc proposed allowing cooperation with international organisations to promote Vietnam’s rural tourism products, allowing Vietcraft to coordinate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and provinces to popularise rural tourism products through digital transformation. Vietnam also plans to build a national database of tangible cultural values and fees for the tourism development of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam to achieve the goal of 50% of traditional craft villages participating in the rural tourism value chain by 2025.

The country has quickly applied technology into tourism development, creating virtual products to attract tourists. Last year, the Son Doong Cave in the central province of Quang Binh was ranked among the best virtual tours of natural wonders by The Guardian. Also last year, a virtual tour was made for the first time in the northwest comprising a set of 360-degree photos and virtual reality (VR) about Moc Chau tourist attractions. Service facilities at the Moc Chau national tourist site have offered a panoramic view to visitors.

In September, the Vietnamese National Museum of History announced several new virtual shows to attract visitors, maintaining social distancing protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the museum’s director, it has applied digital technology in preserving and promoting cultural heritage for many years. It had intended to build a digital database for Vietnamese cultural heritage (E-Heritage) and has obtained positive results.

As OpenGov Asia had reported, one of the latest shows is a 3D virtual interactive display of national treasures, which the museum developed in collaboration with a private tech player. Additionally, the National Museum of History Volunteer Club has researched and built an online tour of the museum to meet the needs of visitors during the new normal. The online tour, held last month, was a combination of narration with various digital technologies that helped bring new perspectives and experiences. It attracted nearly 100 participants. Till now, the museum has organised hundreds of free online history classes for more than 5,000 students, including Vietnamese children living abroad. Based on the experience and success of these programmes, the director affirmed that in the coming time, the museum will continue to design more shows using digital technology to meet the growing demand of the public.

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