Nurturing a Circular Tourism Mindset in Vietnam

Now that global tourism has started to rebound after the pandemic, sustainability and circularity can play a big role in integrating resilience into the sector. This is especially true as tourism contributes substantially to global emissions as well as food and plastic waste.

As we move toward a post-COVID era, one thing is clear: the world has changed. The effects of the pandemic have accentuated even more the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and deforestation, and highlighted the need for deep transformations. The tourism sector in particular need to be redefined and become more resilient.

In November 2021, the CSCP launched the pilot project Circular Tourism Vietnam to promote social and environmental innovations through the integration of circular economy in the tourism sector. The pilot project is carried out at the Tam Giang Lagoon, the largest in Southeast Asia, and it targets start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and community-based enterprises.

In April 2022, a Circularity Lab was launched to inspire and boost circular tourism initiatives in Vietnam. The Lab introduces concepts of circular economy in tourism, offers real-life examples of circular tourism around the globe and facilitates the development of context-specific ideas for sustainable, circular tourism. The Lab ia also a space for local entrepreneurs to define what circular tourism could mean for them. Using a design thinking approach, the participants develop new ideas which they carry through to prototypes.

The Circularity Lab also offers a platform for different stakeholders such as tour operators, small local businesses and the local community, to discuss challenges and see how they can overcome them through collaboration. For example, a community-based enterprise expressed how difficult it was to market their products to tourists. It turned out that out of three tour operators involved in the Lab, only one offered excursions to the Lagoon on their website. This finding triggered discussions between the community enterprise and the tour operators on product innovation and how to transform ideas into concrete products, services and experiences. This created the ground for the co-creation of an experience that integrates innovation through circularity and sustainability, meets tourist demands and promotes local values and livelihoods.

The Circular Tourism Vietnam pilot project is supported by the TUI Care Foundation and is carried in collaboration with the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA).

For further questions, please contact Dr. Adriana Ballón Ossio.

Photo by Just Filip on Unsplash.