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Sustainable community-based tourism in Vietnam as means for pandemic recovery and livelihood resilience

Posted Thursday 31 March 2022
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It goes without saying that tourism was among the most impacted sectors by the COVID pandemic in the last two years, greatly affecting economies, revenues, livelihoods and opportunities for local communities around the world. IUCN aims to help bridge the gap created by this global pandemic by addressing tourism sustainability in and around protected and conserved areas (PCAs). With selected PCAs in Vietnam and Peru, IUCN is collaborating with different partners to build sustainable tourism products to support the post-COVID-19 recovery and improve the resilience and benefits of community tourism activities in the context of fair and effective management of these PCAs.

In Vietnam, the project is focused on two protected areas in North Vietnam: the IUCN Green List Candidate site Cuc Phuong National Park and the IUCN Green List site Van Long Wetland Natural Reserve. As tourism returns to Vietnam, the project aims to introduce community tourism as a way to make the industry more sustainable and beneficial for all people and nature,

Covered in a dense forest, Cuc Phuong National Park’s landscape forms the habitat for some of Asia’s rarest animal and plant species, like the Delacour’s Langur (Trachipythecus delacouri), Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Owston’s Civet (Hemigalus owstoni) and Vietorchis Aurea Aver Orchid. Established in 1962 as the first national protected area, it is also the largest national park in Vietnam. With an area of 25,000 ha, it stretches over the three provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa. The park lies at the end of a limestone range that runs north-west of Vietnam.

Aside from the several mammal species of conservation importance, to date, 1,980 vascular plant species have been recorded for the park. Moreover, Cuc Phuong is recognised as an Important Bird Area of Vietnam with 313 species of bird species recorded in the park. Cuc Phuong also has an immense historical value with prehistoric human remains, up to 12,000 years old, have been found in caves in the park. The area is also home to the local ethnic Muong people.

Cuc Phuong National Park hosts three conservation and rescue centres for endangered primates, turtles and carnivores. The Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program is managed in collaboration with Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. The program rescue and rehabilitate several species of pangolins, civets and badgers, as well as leopard cats and binturong or bearcat. Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is also operating an education centre in the national park, working closely with local schools to foster love and pride in wildlife, providing knowledge and skills toward wildlife protection and encourage action to protect wildlife.

Cuc Phuong is a popular tourist destination and has been selected the World Travel Awards’ “Asia’s Leading National Park” winner for three consecutive years (2019-2021). Due to the large number of visitors, it has high potential value for raising awareness of environmental issues among the general public. In 2020, the number of tourists visiting Cuc Phuong dropped 50%. Subsequently, this has negatively affected the number of visitors to communities around the park.

Working closely with IUCN and the management board of Cuc Phuong National Park, Planeterra was able to identify four villages with high community tourism and socio-economic impact potential for project intervention.


Read more about Planeterra’s work in Cuc Phuong here

Stay tuned for our next activities in Van Long Nature Reserve!

If you would like to learn more about the project progress, click here



This project is implemented with support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Photo by: Ulrika Äberg

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