I. MEKONG RUSTIC - Community based tourism in the Mekong River region
The Mekong Delta (Mekong) consists of 13 provinces and cities, as it is simply called the West, an area formed from alluvial sediments deposited through the ages of changing sea level, owning a rich network of canals, at the same time possessing a dense mangrove vegetation cover that covers the whole region under the influence of marine and brackish water environment. With advantages endowed by nature, this area accounts for 47% of the area and 56% of the country's rice output, seafood accounts for 70% of the area, 40% of output and 60% of exports nationwide. However, in terms of income, people in the Mekong River Delta are still poorer than the country, with their per capita income much lower than the national average.
We realize that to be able to improve the situation in order to balance the standard of living of Western people compared with the whole country is quite difficult and needs help from many aspects for a long time, not to mention. to extreme weather events or natural disasters that people in this region suffer (such as the phenomenon of mangrove water in the West), having to cope with natural disasters and overcome the consequences is also much Stopping people in improving their quality of life.
So we decided to implement a community-based tourism project called Mekong Rustic with the biggest goal of helping local people to partly improve their income, improve their lives, protect the environment, and bring This area comes closer to other regions and is more visible in the eyes of Vietnamese people in particular as well as world tourists in general.
The founder of Mekong Rustic, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Bich, spent 5 years living and working in the Mekong River region to come to the decision to establish this project. Mekong Rustic is built on the basis of cooperation, training and investment for households, including: training of instructors skills, products, homestay accommodation, serving guests on ships, restaurants, activities and equipment investment. This model of CBT does not benefit an individual or a family, but ensures benefits for all households participating in the project as well as supports local communities and sustainable tourism.
For locals who have many years attached to cultivation, forging or baking, preparing and welcoming tourists professionally is not easy. So the cooperation and training process started in 2014 in Cai Be, Tien Giang. After being successful and put into operation in 2016, this model was expanded to Can Tho and Ben Tre with great reception from domestic and international tourists. The Mekong Rustic project has opened up job opportunities for more than 20 households; a lot of human resources are still being missed and provide students with opportunities to improve knowledge.
In 2020, tourism in Vietnam in particular and the world in general will face a huge obstacle on the path of development, the global epidemic Covid-19. This pandemic not only has stopped the development of countries, but also caused many difficulties. However, the Mekong Rustic project will be maintained so that it can continue to benefit local households in the Mekong Delta in the near future.
Items implemented in the Mekong Rustic project:
· Successfully supported 03 households to build a bungalow and homestay resort
· Guide indigenous people to prepare, welcome and serve tourists according to international standards
· Create premise and job experience for students
· Welcoming thousands of domestic and foreign tourists coming to the Mekong region every year
II. Tram Chim National Park Community Ecotourism
Tram Chim is understood as bird sanctuaries mixed with melaleuca forests, where it forms a typical ecosystem of inland wetlands, evergreen broad leaved closed forest seasonally inundated on acidic soil. With an area of more than 7,313 hectares and the advantage of geographical location, about 70 kilometers from National Highway 1A, 150 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City and close to famous tourist attractions of Dong Thap province (Xeo Quyt base area, Tomb of Pho Nguyen Sinh Sac, Giao Giong ecotourism area, ...), Tram Chim National Park is quite convenient, unique and attractive destination, including weekend tourism.
Similar to the Mekong Delta region, Tram Chim National Park is both a conservation and a place to be known and also to support economic development; however, it has not been popular with Vietnamese people in particular as well as with international friends in general. Therefore, the form of tourism when coming to Tram Chim area is simply staying at a homestay, cycling to participate in activities in the village, commune, enjoying the uniqueness of nature and the ecosystem of this place by boat or bike. In parallel with supporting tourism development in Tram Chim National Park, we also endeavor to implement the following items:
· Protect wetland ecosystems; conserve biological genetic resources, especially rare waterfowl species (such as cranes)
· Preserving historical, cultural and social values of Dong Thap Muoi region
· Promote the values of wetland ecosystems in environmental protection, natural landscape protection to serve the needs of scientific research, ecotourism, education and the environment.
· Protect forest resources, native tree resources, aquatic resources, grassland resources, soil resources, water, algae, algae and phytoplankton
· Actively redirect the use of solar canoes to enhance environmental protection
Up to now, Tram Chim National Park's infrastructure and personnel has 17 speakers, 19 motor boats, 8 wooden towing boats, 2 solar boats, 8 electric cars, 4 points of food and 6 points of beverage and souvenir shops. With the support of Tram Chim town and WWF, the Tram Chim National Park area has 01 one-star hotel with air conditioning and hot water, 04 cheap motels and 02 homestays. .
Tram Chim National Park project is also a very big challenge, but it will not be a reason for us to stop in the implementation of this project.
Mekong Rustic aims to promote Mekong's daily life, culture and local people.
Active Travel Asia’s founder, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Bich (Bobby Nguyen) and his partners decided to launch Tan Phong Island in Cai Be, Tien Giang under the brand name of Mekong Rustic in 2014.
The first responsibility is to our guests and partners. We try my best to provide the best quality products and services. And bookings must be promptly attended too. The second responsibility is to local people who work with us, they must have a sense of security in their jobs. The third responsibility is to Mekong Rustic Management who make outstanding things for our guests. The fourth responsibility is to the local communities and authorities. We will support eco-tourism, environmental friendly project and local charity. We promote civic improvements, health, education, invest back into the local communities and make them part of the development of responsible Tourism.
Mekong Rustic has been committed to offering low-impact tours that benefit traveler and host alike. We work with local communities, businesses and individuals to develop sustainable tourism opportunities that help local economies while minimizing negative environmental and cultural impacts.
Our travel programs show our travelers how most Vietnamese actually live, far removed from tourist hot pots which dot the country and encourages all travelers to bring with them their favorite novel and donate to schools. Travelers are also highly encouraged to pen their personal thoughts inside the books. These are words of hope and form the basis of cultural exchanges between differing nations. Books could be given to our team members at registration, and the team shall consolidate them and distribute to the schools quarterly.
School children in Cai Be and Mekong Delta will benefit from this travel program. The books encourages literary rates and hence allows the children or future leaders of the world to make informed life choices as their knowledge, imagination, and horizons broadens.
Mekong Rustic aims to make positive impact on conservation of local life, natural and cultural heritage via its carefully chosen itineraries at various ports of calls. Travelers are able to play an important role in preserving and shaping the world’s diversity as they show the host communities how the values of learning the ethnic traditions and encourages greater understanding between differing cultures.
Travelers visit silk workshops, rice paper-making workshops, mats making workshops, and travel on local rickshaws to truly experience the local cultures. Mekong Rustic is more than a rustic holiday in the Mekong delta, it is about making an informed lifestyle choices that would help preserve local dream time that would be passed down from generations to generations.