Text – Interactivi

Youth Employment and Society Development (YESD) from Vietnam is a brand new, bold and proactive social enterprise whose goal is to promote sustainable tourism in Vietnam by: organizing local tours, raising tourists’ awareness on responsible behaviour towards the environment and empowering local communities through touristic entrepreneurship, while preserving local traditions.

The concept of sustainable tourism is new in Vietnam, and it is with pleasure to acknowledge this trend is growing. The activities of YESD are the proof that sustainable tourism can generate income, support the economic growth of local communities, preserve culture and traditions and, most important, respect the environment.

YESD is a pioneer in this field in their country;  it works project based, in remote areas in Vietnam;  YESD works with youngsters, in particular Hospitality and Tourism graduates who usually do not benefit of internships in the tourism industry and have very limited access to related jobs, but especially with youngsters from remote villages that face the risk of social exclusion due to poverty, who are offered 6 month of training in responsible tourism, customer service skills, language skills and the guarantee they will get a job after the completion of the training.

The travel agents are an important stakeholder in YESD model, with whom YESD created long term partnerships to ensure sustainability and replication. The travel agents are the main link between tourists and YESD and play also an important role in spreading the concept of green travel services, a business they will certainly benefit from in the future, given the shift of paradigm in the tourists preferences: more green.

The approach to YESD’ concept implementation is hands on and customised to the locals’ development potential: both YESD staff and locals work together at the project site on establishing a sustainable tourism model that fits seamlessly into their way of life, while ensuring the locals receive proper tourism services training and language training (Volunteer English Native Speakers Teachers are often present at the project sites). It is worth mentioning that the range of services provided by the local people entails homestay accommodation, locally grown food, trekking tours, motorbike tours. Handcrafted souvenirs are also part of the offer.

Before tour departure, tourists who opted for a green travel are provided with guidelines on responsible behaviour they are expected to exhibit while out in nature or in the local communities. Environmental friendly habits and practices are thus instilled.

The experience of both guests and hosts is unique and definitely a win win: while guests have a unique opportunity to gain insights into unaltered country tradition and culture, the local communities grow economically in a familiar setting now protected, that will become their strongest asset in the long run. What could sound more appealing than that if interested to discover Vietnam, a fabulous destination?

Details about the tours organization at www.yesd.org

Photo credit: YESD and Planet Hero