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|With passion for creating a safe environment, agro-tourism in places like Dong Thap can thrive|
In the past couples of years, many farmers in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap have embarked on agricultural tourism which helps them gain noticeable incomes while simultaneously brightening the local tourism picture with fresh hues, making it more charming in the eyes of visitors.
In the recent past, Dong Thap’s Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee has strongly spread the image of Dong Thap farmers being involved in agriculture in a professional manner. The goal is for local farmers to produce what the market needs with assured quality and competitive price, in addition to them being kitted out with necessary production skills and a strong business mindset.
According to Dong Thap’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, agriculture tourism has brought local farmers’ incomes that are much higher than if they were carrying out pure agriculture.
Local farmers have made gradual shift from simple farming into developing agriculture tourism as well as the agricultural economy. The provincial agricultural sector reported that during 2016-2020, orchard sites in the province greeted more than 150,000 visitors, generating total revenue of over VND43 billion ($1.86 million).
This is a testament to the promotion of agricultural tourism in a fresh and proper development direction, helping Dong Thap extend its agricultural production value chain while enabling the countryside to take on new bright appearance.
About a decade ago, despite being in the unknown about agricultural tourism, many farmers in Sa Dec flower village and mandarin garden houses began to receive visitors to their flower gardens, and travellers wanting to taste local specialties. Now, however, Dong Thap farmers have become increasingly professional with their new work.
The farmer mindset in carrying out agricultural production has also changed significantly and positively. Along with this, instead of using chemicals, farmers are now using bio-substances on their crops. With extra incomes from tourism services being offered, the economic value on a unit of agricultural production area has jumped multi-fold.
Industry experts assumed that Dong Thap has enormous potential to lift up agricultural tourism development, but for it to succeed in the long term, much more work needs to be done. First is to change local mindsets in developing an agricultural economy, which is deemed as the most important factor.
“For the tourism industry to develop in a sustainable manner, having passion is a critical factor. Visitors call on the Land of Pink Lotus not only to adorn the flowers, but also to enjoy the tranquility and feel the sincere hearts of local people,” said Doan Tan Buu, Deputy Chairman of Dong Thap People’s Committee.
“For sustainability, farmers must carry out agriculture in a decent manner: avoiding overuse of fertilisers or pesticides, from there creating safe products, holding prestige in production and business, and joining efforts to create peaceful villages as well as a wholesome environment,” Buu noted.
According to tourism experts, the participation of the whole community is a prime factor for the sustainable development of agriculture tourism. One crucial factor is leaving good impressions on first-time visitors, as it is almost impossible to do this for the second time. Therefore, they said, Dong Thap locals must try their best to appeal to visitors as soon as they set foot in the province, thus making them want to hopefully return many more times in the future.