receiving only VND20,000 from a tourism company for her evening's
traditional dance performance, ethnic Co Tu woman Bruu Thi Nep said it
was not good enough.
"The payment for our shows does nothing to help our villagers make ends
meet," said Nep, 25, from Dong Giang District in the central province of
Tu ethnic people in Bho
are looking forward to the day they can fully benefit from tourism. — Photo
courtesy International Labour Organisation
Her village, Bho
Hoong, some 100km from the Hoi An beach and close to the historic Ho Chi
Minh Trail, is typical of many throughout the country who are missing
out on the cash from a burgeoning tourism industry.
Her village gets
about 2,000 day visitors a year, attracted by the culture of the Co Tu
ethnic minority group. But the locals get little benefit – any money the
tourists bring goes into the pockets of the travel companies.
Nam Province borders the central tourism hub of Da Nang, which has
attracted significant investment because of its sandy beaches, coral
reefs and world cultural heritage sites: My Son Archaeological Site and
Hoi An Old Town. However, all the money was being spent on the coastal
fringes and tourism in the interior is largely limited to day trippers.
Some 24 per cent of households in the province are still living under or close to the poverty line of $21 per capita per month.
In fact, Quang Nam
was a vivid example of the unequal situation in tourism across Viet Nam
in both quality and quantity of jobs, said International Labour
Organisation country director Gyorgy Sziraczki.
He told a
conference on poverty reduction through tourism, held by the ILO in
Quang Nam yesterday, that much of the tourism development was limited to
a few key areas while those in the rural interior had benefited little.
development was strongly connected with employment, he said, since it
was one of the world's top job creators (230 million jobs, equivalent to
8 per cent of the overall number of jobs).
sector requires varying degrees of skill and allows for quick entry into
the workforce by youth, women and migrant workers," Sziraczki said.
In Viet Nam, the
$5 billion tourism sector employed about 434,000 people directly and
955,000 indirectly in 2010, up by two thirds against 2007. The industry
was dominated by young and particularly female workers, who made up 58
per cent of the total workforce.
of tourism to job creation was expected to continue increasing as the
country was ranked sixth in the world for tourism and travel growth.
The industry has
targeted 10 million international visitors a year to generate an annual
revenue of $18-19 billion by 2020. It expected to directly employ
940,000 workers by the end of the decade, more than double the 2010
The growth in
tourism and jobs had not been equal across the country, said Ministry of
Culture, Sports and Tourism training department deputy director Nguyen
Some 34 per cent
of the tourism workforce was concentrated in HCM City and surroundings
and 33 per cent in Ha Noi and adjacent areas.
To benefit the
poor, an ILO project in Quang Nam Province was expected to bring
hospitality and tourism development opportunities to rural and
million project, funded by the Luxembourg Government, is helping local
people better their lives from tourism by developing home-stay services
and promoting their traditional weaving and other products, with "Made
in Quang Nam" branding and "Products with a story".
With ILO support,
the provincial government has set a goal of increasing the business
start-ups related to tourism in the interior by 10 per cent and raising
the average income of the locals by one fifth by the end of next year,
said provincial People's Committee deputy chairman Tran Minh Ca said.
And while all this is going on, young minority dancer Nep has volunteered to take a lead in the "fight" for equality in tourism.
university degree – a rare achievement in the 67-household village – and
being the daughter of a war hero, who is also head of the village, Nep
is expected to persuade and guide other young villagers to use tourism
as a vehicle to get out of poverty.
And with support from the ILO, they will be trained in how to negotiate with travel companies and fight for their benefits.
Nep is hoping for brighter days to come to her homeland and a bigger share of the tourism cake.