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Green tourism in the Mekong Delta region


   An eco-tourism village is a new model of economic development in harmony with natural landscape and the environment associated with traditional culture.

   Originating from an idea of a green tourist destination, both fully convergent cultural identities of the Mekong River Delta, it has contributed effectively to the work of local environment protection.

   In this respect, Mỹ Khánh Tourist Village was born and became one of the most attractive eco-tourist destinations of Cần Thơ City.

   Mỹ Khánh Tourist Village, managed by Mỹ Khánh Eco-Tourism Ltd. Company, is located in Phong Điền of Cần Thơ City, 10km from the city centre, covering an area of over 14 ha. This village tourism project is a convergence of the elite culture with the Southern characteristics. The village has bungalows and hostels mixed alternately in gardens. Tran Minh Luan - manager of the Village Tourism has said that stemming from the practical requirements of the city to develop its tourist potential, in 1986, the tourism village was developed with its first name as an eco-tourism garden.

   By 2002, Mỹ Khánh Eco-tourism Co. Ltd was officially established with a total investment capital of VND30 billion. Over 20 types of trees were planted along walkways in the village such as plums, mango, rambutan, and jackfruit, in addition to strawberry and durian, to create greenery and a fresh space for visitors.

   With the hope of turning Mỹ Khánh Village into a tourist destination in Cần Thơ city and Mekong River Delta, the company has launched an idea of building a typical traditional village of the Mekong Delta region and improving the cultural values of the region, while preserving and embellishing the typical architecture. The village has been renovated, infrastructure facilities have been upgraded, and roads have been built to connect tourist attractions. Coming to Mỹ Khánh, one find a familiar picture of local people sailing dinghies and four-season fresh and green orchards.

   The Mỹ Khánh Tourist Village also has a recreation area with traditional games such as cyclo, jumping sack, pig racing, and terrain dog racing, in addition to monkey circus, fishing pond, and crocodile breeding pond. There is also a wild animal conservation area with more than 40 species.

   In particular, there are special programmes such as “One day of a squire”, “One day of a farmer”, and “Slapping pond to catch fish”. In addition, tourists can also visit the ancient house, traditional culture village and try the traditional dishes made by the locals.

   Featuring a typical characteristic of a “whaft boat”, Mỹ Khánh village has organised river tours everyday by boat or yacht, exploring attractive tourist destinations along canals, by stagecoach or tram, around the village. Every year, hundreds of thousands of domestic and international tourists visit the village, bringing in substantial revenue for the village.

   Recognizing the importance of environmental issues, the company has fully complied with the provisions of the law on environmental protection.

   The company has carried out the environmental impact assessment (EIA). It has also signed a contract with CầnThơ Urban Works Company to collect household wastes twice a day. The company has placed trash bins along paths in the village. In addition, the company registers with the CầnThơ Department of Environment Protection every 6 months. Currently, the Department of Natural Resource and Environment has approved the company’s report on environmental impact assessment to further expand 20ha of this tourist area.

   It is expected that by 2016, the second phase of this project will complete.

   Director of the tourist village, Tran Minh Luan said that to make the environment green, clean and beautiful is one of the priorities of the village by working towards a sustainable development model.

   To protect the landscape and ecology of this resort, the company always focusses on disseminating media propaganda and calling on the locals and visitors to protect the environment. To create a close, professional and efficient linkage for the village, the company has developed joint activities to develop eco-tourism with 20 local households involved in “tourism on traditional culture and homestay service” under the umbrella of Global Competitiveness Facility (GCF) for Vietnamese enterprises financed by Denmark.

   The project will establish four locations for traditional crafts (knitting, apparel, confectionery, and agricultural models) together with homestay services and training, consulting, and technical assistance to local farmers.

   The close connection between the Mỹ Khánh Tourist Village and local households help develop sustainable tourism of ecological gardens. Not only does it take care of business services, the company also takes care of social security, thus bringing prosperity to residents. Every year, the company sets aside hundreds of millions of dong for a welfare fund to build cosy houses or deliver rice to poor farmers and families and grant scholarships to poor but outstanding students, as well as develop infrastructure facilities such as bridges and road in the local area.

   Thanks to the strenuous and sustained efforts of the travel sector, Mỹ Khánh village has been awarded numerous certificates of merit from the General Department of Tourism, the City People’s Committee, Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and other agencies in the city.

   To make Mỹ Khánh a green tourist centre in Cần Thơ city in general and in Mekong Delta region in particular, in the near future, the village will promote its business links with tourist destinations, travel agencies, tour operators in the region and the entire country as well. In addition, it will also construct projects bearing the special characteristics of the Southern people and develop green tourism products to make Mỹ Khánh more attractive to visitors■

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