The United Nations has identified poverty as one of the biggest global challenges and set its Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015. The potential for tourism to play a significant role in the alleviation of poverty is increasingly recognised by international bodies and the Vietnamese government. According to the World Economic Forum, tourism is the most dynamic sector globally in terms of job creation in developing countries. In the National Socio-economic Development Plan, the contribution made by tourism to socio-economic development is clearly stated, with it offering “significant contributions to poverty reduction, and even hunger eradication”.

The Community-based Tourism Centre (CBTC) is dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism social, economic and ecological with activities that specifically alleviate poverty, delivering development and jobs to poor people. CBCT promotes the potential of community-based tourism in different villages in Vietnam where tourism resources are available and remain largely untapped. The Centre offers solutions to challenges facing the tourism industry and destination communities as they balance economic viability with socio-cultural and environmental advances and equity.

Major CBTC activities include:

Capacity Building and Training: CBTC provides a series of capacity building and other training activities in matters related to poverty alleviation through community-based tourism for public officials, NGOs, the private sector and communities.

Research and Publications: CBTC conducts a wide range of research, including potential assessments for CBT development in different localities, tourism and poverty alleviation linkages, tourism and climate change, community sense of place, and tourism poverty reduction. CBTC also compiles and publishes manuals, guidelines and reports related to sustainable tourism and community-based tourism. Promotion of CBT in different villages: By working closely with its partners, CBTC promotes a model of community-based tourism in different localities in Vietnam. The promotional activities include building capacity for local people in identification and utilisation of local CBT resources, establishing management structures and improving basic infrastructure and facilities for CBT development, improving local products and services, and establishing efficient marketing services.

Responsible Tour Operator: CBTC is working as a responsible tour operator for community-based tourism in Vietnam. It provides visitors with information on CBT models in Vietnam; facilitates the development of favourable conditions for visitors to visit these models (logistics); and provides a training programme to enable local people to offer standard services. As a responsible tour operator, CBTC is committed to benefiting local communities (both economically and socially), to respect local cultures (traditions, religions and heritage infrastructure), to conserve natural resources and to minimise pollution (through noise, waste disposal and congestion)