Hanoi hotel

Sapa hotel, Work starts on five-star international hotel project in Sapa

The Vietnam Investment Construction And Trading Joint Stock Company (CTX Holdings) began constructing its five-star Sapa Indochina International Hotel, in the northern hill province of Lao Cai, on May 30.

Sapa in the clouds festival Sapa to become an intl resort by 2030 Tourists flock to Sapa villages

Once completed, the hotel will cater to both domestic and international visitors with 156 luxury rooms, meeting facilities, bars, a sauna, a fitness centre, and swimming pools.

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Provincial Party Committee Deputy Secretary Sung Chung said the hotel is one of the provinces planned green construction projects intended to boost the numbers of tourists visiting Sapa.

The project, covering an area of 7,252 sq.m, is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2015.

Tourists flocking to Sapa for Tet

Hotels in Sapa cannot meet the demands of the large number of tourists which is increasing significantly during the Tet holidays, said Nguyen Dinh Dzung, Deputy Director of Lao Cai Provinces Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism.

Vietnam hotels Vietnam restaurant design Vietnam grand hotel Vietnam palace hotel Vietnam club hotel Vietnam hotel Vietnam restaurants Hanoi hotel Hotel in Sapa Sapa hotel

  [Sapa hotel - sapaluxuryhotel - 500] Victoria group presents 12-night Indochina tour

Victoria Sapa Hotel & Resort

Victoria Hotels & Resorts, the group that runs six properties across Vietnam and Cambodia, is offering a 12-night Indochina exploration package.

The Indochina Explorer package will highlight the attractions of the region. Tourists will be taken on train, boat and bus tours through ethnic minority regions in the northern Vietnam, the UNESCO heritage town Hoi An and its beach in central Vietnam, the floating markets of Can Tho and the mystic Sam mountain in An Giang Province in the southern region.

Customers will then travel by speedboat to Phnom Penh, and see vestiges of the Khmer civilization in Siem Reap.

The package includes accommodation with daily breakfast in superior rooms at each Victoria Hotels & Resorts in Sa Pa, Hoi An, Can Tho, Chau Doc and Siem Reap. The group operates five hotels in Vietnam, including one in the south central resort town Phan Thiet.

Customers will also receive welcome drink and towel upon arrival, daily fresh flowers and fruit basket, souvenir gifts from the tour operator, and early check-in or late check-out if available.

The package costs US$1,563 a twin sharing room and a further $867 for a single supplement.

Avoiding touristy tourism

Eight tour operators plan to transform the tourism landscape with two key concepts: sustainability and responsibility

Women of Black H’mong and Red Yao ethnic minorities try to sell head scarves to a foreign tourist in Sa Pa, the famous mountainous resort town in northern Vietnam (Photo by Nghia Pham)

The famous love market in Sa Pa has been consigned to history.

It has been killed by the very industry that promoted it with an exclusive focus on profit and no thought to the consequences of unbridled tourism promotion on local cultures and lifestyles.

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Ethnic minority youth no longer have the privacy to engage in the long-standing courting tradition. Others have given up their traditional vocations to subsist on tourism, and local skills, traditions and cultures are being lost rapidly.

Sadly, Sa Pa is not an exception.

Fortunately, at least some industry insiders have woken up to the need for less destructive and more sustainable forms of tourism that encourages preservation of local cultures.

In a setting where the considerable resources that the country has poured into tourism promotion have been, by and large, wasted on unimaginative and ill-advised ventures, the protection of local cultures, environment and biodiversity becomes critically important.

Thanh Nien Weekly talks with the chairman of the Responsible Travel Club, Dang Xuan Son, also product manager for Footprint Vietnam Travel.

Thanh Nien Weekly: How did you come up with the idea of establishing a responsible travel club?

Dang Xuan Son: We came up with the idea several years ago. It originated from one of our projects in Ha Long Bay, under which we used a type of racket to pick up the trash floating in the bay. Obviously Ha Long was so huge that we couldn’t really make a difference. Then I thought of asking other tour operators to join the effort.

Footprint Travel, Indochina Travelland, Active Travel, Blue Swimmer Adventures, Freewheelin’ Tours, La Vie Vu Linh, I Travel and Sisters Tours Vietnam.

We managed to gather the current eight members through the help of SNV, the Dutch Development Organization. It’s not easy to get everybody on the same page since we are all competitors. However, we can still figure out ways to promote responsible tourism, and along the way, improve our tourism products.

What is the main goal of the Responsible Travel Club?

We want to create additional responsible tour products and support our members in training their staff on the environment, culture and community. We are also planning to work with the World Wildlife Fund on different environmental projects. We will also publish information about responsible travel in brochures and flyers for distribution among college students. It’s important to educate the younger generation on this issue.

What does it mean to be a responsible traveler or a responsible tour operator?

Let’s take an example from one of our projects. Members of the Responsible Travel Club are currently operating tours to Chieng Yen Commune in Son La Province. Before the tour began, we had to figure out which should be designated as guest houses, and which areas would be reserved for pedestrians and/or bikers. That’s the business aspect.

Then we conducted training courses for locals about responsible tourism – which means not to bug tourists and drag them to their houses. It means not harassing them constantly to buy your products.

The way we operate in Chieng Yen is about sharing the tourism dollars and the benefits among local households. About four or five households are placed under one committee. The head of the committee has the responsibility to allocate the number of guests for each household.

In Vietnam, responsible travel is still not a familiar concept. There are many other sectors where we need to promote sustainable development, such as exploitation of natural resources, including minerals and forests. As the tourism industry in the country has just taken off, there is a