Dao, Mai Thi Hoang (2014). 'Resilience together: how rural tourism can promote sustainable human development?' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, 2-5 September 2014, Athens, Greece.
In recent years, the diversification of livelihoods for people in rural areas has become the leading concern in developing countries. Under the pressure of a growing population and the process of industrialization and urbanization, on the one hand, and climate change, on the other hand, an increasing number of people, living in rural areas, have to leave the agricultural sector and look for unstable jobs in urban cities.
Rural tourism includes several activities and services offered and run by the population living in rural areas which showcase rural life, art, culture and heritage. This paper aims to describe and analyze the value chain of the rural tourism sector in Vietnam. Although the development of the Vietnamese rural tourism sector is still in its early stages, this paper argues that it could be a solution for rural people to stay in their villages and to face the aforementioned challenges to their livelihoods. Rural tourism can therefore actively contribute to rural development if local people use their collective agency to enhance the development of this new sector. In doing so, they will not only create new opportunities for themselves, but will also contribte to the sustainable human development of their communities. Rural tourism, it is argued, is also a means to protect the environment and to preserve the cultural-historical heritages of rural communities in Vietnam. Developing this sector, however, is only possible if rural communities act together. Through their collective action, they are able to generate and enhance their individual and collective capabilities thus promoting sustainable human development in their communities.