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George Washington University

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development


As tourism becomes increasingly important to Vietnam’s economy, and subsequently the development of the country, it will become ever more critical to examine the impact of tourism, including both the positive and negative consequences. The intention of this paper is to continue the analysis of the tourism industry in Vietnam; in particular, this paper considers sustainable tourism, which can be defined as minimizing impact on local culture and environment while simultaneously resulting in economic gains and employment, all while operating in a way that can be continued in the future. As Vietnam is rich in diverse cultures and natural landscapes, the sustainability of tourism is vital when considering the industry as it currently exists.

This paper considers the efforts and impact of two institutions that influence the awareness and adoption of sustainable tourism practices in Vietnam: government and universities. The government is considered as it holds the exclusive responsibility to set laws for tourism and determine new policies. Educational institutions are also considered valuable in the future of tourism practices, as universities are increasingly building their programs in tourism studies that prepare students for future managerial roles in the industry. Finally, this paper examines Sapa, a well-known tourist destination located in the mountainous Lao Cai Province. Particularly, this research focuses on tourism practices that currently exist there and how they have been impacted by local institutions.

This paper concludes with suggestions for further research in the field. The research discussed in this paper is based on only one month of investigation, and there are many areas mentioned which can and should be studied on a more detailed level.


Asian Studies | Place and Environment | Sociology of Culture | Tourism


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