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Apr 16, 2023 / 08:18

Tourism businesses urged to reduce plastic waste

Vietnam Tourism Association launches a competition to develop plastic waste management tools for the tourism industry.

Local governments in Vietnam are asked to tightly regulate tourism-related activities to cut down on plastic trash and implement processes and regulations to promote eco-friendly and sustainable travel.

 Residents join the campaign “Green Tourism Week” of Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province - Giving trash baskets to the boatmen with the message "Carrying green - Breathing well". Photo: Ninh Binh newspaper

At a seminar on reducing plastic waste in the tourism sector within the framework of the ongoing Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM-Hanoi 2023) in Hanoi, Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association Vu The Binh urged businesses need to seek plastic alternatives to create a sustainable value chain with suppliers and other solutions to retain international tourists to Vietnam and protect the environment.

He mentioned a project was recently launched to reduce plastic waste in the tourism industry by the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) and the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, an agency of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Binh said that this project involves Hoi An Ancient City in the northern province of Ninh Binh and Gia Vien District in the central province of Quang Nam, both of which have already achieved initial success. 

 Vu My Hanh, a representative of the waste management group at source in Hoi An speaks at the event. 

According to Vu My Hanh, a representative of the waste management group at the Hoi An source, the most effective aspect of the project is the ecosystem created as a result of the program, in which everyone is active in recycling and reducing plastic waste.

There are 27 businesses in Hoi An that sell cleaning products such as dishwashing liquid, floor cleaner, and cleaning vinegar in refillable containers, including coffee shops, homestays, restaurants, and more.

La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa estimates that it has eliminated approximately 3.5 tons of plastic per year. Another resort, Silk Sense Hoi An River Resort, reduced the use of 20,000 disposable plastic bottles by switching from plastic to glass water bottles after a year and a half of implementation.

Pham Ha, CEO of Lux Group, a cruise ship operator in Ha Long Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh, said tourist destinations need to take more responsibility in making Vietnam a green destination and turn it into a strength. He stressed: "Hoi An has done well and attracted many Western European tourists to come and stay for a long time."

Meanwhile, fishermen in Ha Long Bay dismantled their farms after the practice of aquaculture was banned, causing environmental damage.

According to VITA, the bay residents generate an average of four tons of garbage daily, mostly plastic waste. Other places besides Ha Long are also affected by plastic pollution.

Sam Son, a city in the central province of Thanh Hoa, makes an average of 105 tons of waste per day, of which 24% is plastic waste. Meanwhile, the central city of Danang dumps about 1,100 tons of waste, of which 17% is plastic waste or 20.8 tons per day.

In Tuy Hoa City, in the southern province of Phu Yen, plastic waste accounts for 18.31% of the 524 tons of waste generated daily. In Rach Gia City, Kien Giang Province, the amount of plastic waste per day is up to 32.1 tons, accounting for 19% of the 155 tons of waste generated per day.

 La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa staff and employees are cleaning up the trash around the facility. Photo: La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa

Statistical reports from the Institute for Tourism Development Research (ITDR), WWF, and the People's Committees of some provinces show that the volume of plastic waste in tourist destinations is growing.

The ITDR warned that if no action is taken, the amount of plastic waste thrown away by tourists in 2030 will be three times higher than in 2019, at around 336,400 tons per year.

Given the current situation, Vu Quoc Tri, Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, reiterated that "people working in the tourism industry have to help minimize the negative impact on the environment and proactively encourage tourists to participate in reducing plastic waste."

The seminar participants agreed that it is necessary to replicate the two models of Hoi An and Gia Vien in the remaining destinations across the country to create a positive spillover effect in reducing plastic waste in tourism and contribute to implementinging sustainable tourism development goals in Vietnam.

On this occasion, VITA is launching a competition to create a plastic waste management application for tourism businesses.