Tourists to the ancient capital of Hue will have the chance to enjoy the real life of the old city rather than just viewing relics or landscape as they usually do.
Community-based tourism was included in the city authorities' strategy to attract 3 million tourists by 2015, confirmed Ngo Hoa, deputy chairman of Thua Thien-Hue Provincial People's Committee.
With the support from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), the city chose the model of traditional markets on Thanh Toan tile-roofed bridges in Thuy Thanh Commune to develop.
In fact, the Thanh Toan market day was revitalised during the Hue Festival and gained tourists' applause. However, only the tourists who went on tours were introduced to the spot. In addition, few local households got involved in providing the service so the number of beneficiaries remained limited.
JICA will help set up an office for the village's tourism management which will monitor the local tourism quality and enlarge the service scale so more local residents can take participate in tourism.
Travel agencies and information providers are encouraged to co-operate in bringing more tourists to the destination. Field trips will be organised to test out tour quality.
Elsewhere in Phong Dien District's Phong Hoa Commune, Phuoc Tich ancient village, which is home to 40 hundred-year-old nha ruong (houses built with many beams and pillars), has been selected to develop homestays.
JICA also sent Mizokami Yoshihiro, a Japanese ceramic expert to help the village maintain its traditional ceramics production by creating new products based on their traditional technique. More than 20 villagers, most of them old artisans, took part in the programme.
The community-based tourism does not only refresh tourism in the old city but help create more jobs and improve the incomes of local people.
Apart from JICA, the Netherlands Development Organisation SNV helped 70 local residents get jobs as tourism service providers and craft sellers for Huyen Tran cultural centre in An Tay Ward.
This was a good way to promote Hue cultural values and the easiest way for local people to market their traditional crafts, Hoa said.
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