Ethnic Culture and Tourism Villages – Space for Preservation of Traditional Culture

Nam Dam ethnic women (Quan Ba Commune) are making traditional costumes.

Enjoying culinary culture, immersing in Then music with the Tinh musical instrument, participating in traditional festivals, wearing unique ethnic costumes or learning the sophistication of Mong ethnic’s architecture, linen weaving , and flute making … are interesting experiences when visiting ethnic culture and tourism villages (ECTVs) in Ha Giang province.

At the beginning of 2012, in the conference on developing typical ECTVs associated with New Rural Development Program, Ha Giang province introduced 10 criteria (Panhou Declaration) including: Building a healthy, rich cultural and spiritual life with traditional craft villages; and ensuring accommodation services with Craft Artists Association …

In addition, the Program No. 62-CTr / TU, dated March 29, 2013 of the Provincial Party Committee on cultural development associated with tourism from 2013 to 2020 emphasized to promote local strengths; focus investment in improving infrastructure system and cultural institutions; ensure favorable environment for tourism development; preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritages of ethnic minorities; and building typical ECTV aligned with New Rural Development Program. By 2016, the Provincial People’s Council issued Resolution 35 on policies to encourage tourism development. The province’s policies and decisions are the foundation providing opportunities for localities to develop ECTV in a sustainable manner. Up to date, the province has introduced 36 ECTVs, of which 16 have registered and 12 ECTVs have met Panhou’s criteria.

Visiting ECTV in Tha village, Phuong Do commune (Ha Giang city) these first days of New Year, we bumped into many tourist groups experiencing Tay ethnic’s cultural life in homestays. Mr. Hoang Nhat Khanh, a visitor from Hanoi, shared: “Ha Giang is not only famous for the majestic beauty of Dong Van Stone Plateau but also for the ECTVs. In our traveling itinerary, we decided to explore ECTVs and Tha village first. The scenery here is peacefully beautiful and the people are friendly. Particularly, listening to Then music with Tinh musical instrument, and enjoying Tay’s traditional cuisines are indeed spectacular.”

Mr. Nguyen Van Nghien, a homestay owner said, “I have been doing tourism since 2015. My monthly income is over 10 million VND which helps my family and promotes the unique culture of ethnic minorities to exchange with many other cultures”.

Nam Dam ECTV in Quan Ba commune was initiated in 2012 by Caritas Switzerland in collaboration with People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) through the Pro-poor Tourism Development Project (*). The goal is to help people increase their livelihoods, raise awareness of environmental protection; preserve and promote cultural values and identity of Dao ethnic community. With strategic and effective implementation which maximized available advantages of local people and the supportive participation of local authorities, Nam Dam ECTV is becoming an attractive destination for tourists. In 2017, Nam Dam ECTV was awarded the ASEAN Homestay Standard. Each year, the village attracts thousands of tourists. In order to preserve cultural identity and develop tourism, Nam Dam has established a Management Board, the Nam Dam Homestay Club, and 2 performance teams for tourism activities.

Coming to Dong Van Stone Plateau, tourists can enjoy the unique culture of Mong people in ECTV Lung Cam Tren, Sung La commune (Dong Van); and other ECTV in Pa Vi Ha village, Pa Vi commune (Meo Vac) with ancient house architecture; Mong ethnic dance, linen weaving experience; Gau Tao Festival; culinary delights with men men (cooked corn powder) treats, Thang co (stewed meat soup) and smoked meat…

ECTVs have attracted many tourists to Ha Giang; changed the appearance of villages; improved people’s livelihoods and labor structure, and gradually shifted the economy towards services. More importantly, the ECTVs have become “living museums” to preserve and promote cultural values of the far northern ethnic minority people.

Translated by PanNature. Source: Ha Giang Newspaper

(*) For more information about Nam Dam ECTV and the Pro-poor Tourism Development Project implemented by Caritas Switzerland and PanNature, please see the video below. This project was funded by Misereor.

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