Vietnam advised to promote development of forest-based ecotourism

Hanoi: Boasting great resources of forest and forest land, Vietnam is advised to develop forest ecosystem services, especially forest-based ecotourism to create jobs and improve incomes for locals, contributing to sustainable poverty reduction among mountainous communities. A report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), in 2022, Vietnam had 14,790,075 ha of forest area, of which 10,134,082 ha were natural forests and 4,655,933 ha were planted ones. According to the MARD's Department of Forestry, income from forest services is about 40 trillion VND (1.62 billion USD) each year, including about 2 trillion VND from forest tourism. Since 2016, forest-based community tourism has thrived. In 2022 alone, this kind of tourism attracted 3.1 million tourists. Recently, national parks and natural reserves across the country, including Pu Mat, Cuc Phuong, Phong Nha Ke Bang U Minh Thuong, Ba Vi, Bac Ma, Cat Tien, Cat Ba, Hoang Lien, Tam Dao, Ba Na-Nui Chua national parks, as well as more than 60 natural reserves across the country have worked hard to promote forest-based ecotourism. However, forest-based ecotourism in Vietnam has still been in its beginning stage with limitations in professionalism, management and resource using for tourism. Meanwhile, the research, baseline study and forest-based ecotourism development planning have yet to be conducted effectively. Do Van Lap, Vice Director of the Cuc Phuong National Park, said that the park has organised various programmes, activities and tours in association with wildlife rescue and preservation. Cuc Phuong is home to 2,230 floral species and 669 animal species, including 73 listed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and endangered species needing urgent protection. Tran Anh Tuan, founder of Nature Expedition, said that the firm's experience tourism products in Cuc Phuong National Park have attracted a large number of visitors, especially children, helping educate them about the responsibility to protect the environment and wildlife. According to experts, Vietnam needs to give suitable policies, strategies and approaches to diversify forest ecosystem services. At the same time, the country should also diversify forest welfare for the community and educate the community about the significance of the forest, thus encouraging actions to protect fores as well as the environment and biodiversity in Vietnam./. Source: Vietnam News Agency

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