Developing tourism helps ethnic people in Dong Van Karst Plateau escape poverty

(VOVWORLD) - In recent years, the northern mountain province of Ha Giang has focused on developing tourism, especially in the four districts of the Dong Van Karst Plateau: Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Meo Vac, and Dong Van. The homestay model has helped local ethnic groups develop and preserve their unique cultural values.

Developing tourism helps ethnic people in Dong Van Karst Plateau escape poverty - ảnh 1An aerial view of the Lo Lo Chai community tourism hamlet in Lung Cu commune (Photo:

The Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark is home to well-known community tourism villages. These include Nam Dam Community Tourism Village in Quan Ba District, Pa Vi H’Mong Village in Meo Vac District, Lo Lo Chai Hamlet of the Lo Lo ethnic people and Lung Cam Cultural Village in Dong Van District, and Dong Van Ancient Town.

Dao ethnic people in Nam Dam began community tourism a decade ago. It now has 35 households qualified to welcome guests to stay overnight in accordance with ASEAN standards, earning about 1,200 USD per person per year.

Ly Quoc Loc, the owner of Ly Van Quang Homestay, recalled that in the past his family lived only by growing corn, planting forests for timber, and raising buffalo. Since undertaking tourism, their economic condition has become more stable, said Loc.

Tourism services help my familys economy better than doing only farming. But its necessary to keep the landscape clean while the national cultural identity must be preserved to attract tourists,” said Loc.

Developing tourism helps ethnic people in Dong Van Karst Plateau escape poverty - ảnh 2Ha Giang is an attractive destination for domestic and foreign tourists. (Photo:

Since 2019 Ly Ta Don in Nam Dam has been engaged in providing homestay services. The family’s “trinh tuong” (earthen) house has been renovated and expanded with new facilities to meet the essential needs of tourists.

Don said that to be able to provide community tourism services, his family members had to take training courses in tourism and English communication.

Since opening the homestay, our living condition has changed a lot. The village roads are clean and beautiful. Our houses are more spacious,” said Don.

Developing sustainable tourism while preserving and exploiting traditional cultural values has been identified as the direction set by Meo Vac District for developing community tourism.

Sang Pa A Hamlet in Meo Vac Town is home to the Lo Lo ethnic group whose population in Vietnam is less than 10,000 people. In the past, the Lo Lo subsisted on rice they grew on mountain fields and raised cattle and poultry.

Now they have upgraded their village roads and alleys and repaired their traditional earthen houses to make homestays.

Three years ago Lo Van Tam bought a stilt house to offer homestay service. Today his family lodges guests and serves them local dishes. Each month, excluding expenses, Tam’s family earns around 1,000 USD.

Nong Thi Tue, Tam’s neighbor, has restored her family’s old house into a place for tourists to stay. By introducing the unique customs and practices of the Lo Lo people and villages on social networks, Tuệ’s house welcomes a consistent number of customers, giving her an income of 350 to 450 USD a month.

Also in Meo Vac District, a Mong ethnic community culture and tourism model called Pa Vi Ha Village, went into operation in April 2019. With limestone terrain, local people used to rely on raising goats, cows and growing corn. Their living conditions were very difficult.

To improve their lives, the Meo Vac administration chose Pa Vi Ha Village, about 6 kilometers from Meo Vac Town, to invest in community tourism development.

Hoang Thi Hien, the owner of Pa Vi homestay, said the locals have been supported in developing their premises for 50 years for free or with reduced interest rates for households to establish service businesses. This program has attracted 28 ethnic households to provide homestay services.

Providing homestay service gives higher income than farming though at first, local households were very confused and worried, said Hien, adding, “Then Meo Vac District authorities opened training courses and organized educational tours for them to learn about the experiences of other localities.”

Meo Vac District has five community culture and tourism villages. The model has helped local ethnic groups escape poverty and become financially independent.

Ngo Manh Cuong,Deputy Chairman of the District People’s Committee, said there were many difficulties at the beginning, one of the most obvious being peoples awareness.

“But the district has enhanced its communications activities. To date the model has brought in economic value, generated jobs, and increased income for people to sustainably reduce poverty,” said Cuong.

Because Ha Giang has become a tourist magnet, the local community tourism villages and households providing homestay services now have more job opportunities, stable income, and a path to sustainably escape from poverty.

What Ha Giang province and the districts in the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark are targeting is promotion of the local tourism industry with the goal of turning it into a spearhead economic sector.