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Associating tourism economic development with environmental security in Vietnam

(LLCT) - In Vietnam today, tourism has become an important economic sector, with many great contributions to social and economic development. However, tourism activities have also caused many consequences to the environment. Therefore, combining tourism economic development with ensuring environmental security is an urgent and vital requirement of Vietnam’s sustainable tourism development in particular and its sustainable development in general. This article focuses on clarifying some major forms of implementing the link between tourism economic development and environmental security in Vietnam today.

Kim Lien Beach (Da Nang) was cleaned by 800 volunteers, which brought back the pristine view.

Keyword: tourism economic development, environmental security, sustainable tourism development in Vietnam.

1. The concept of combining tourism economic development with environmental security

Tourism economic development

Tourism economy is a complex system of economic relations and activities of subjects involved in the process of producing and consuming tourism products and services, in order to bring socio-economic benefits to all related stakeholders, and create a motivational boost to the development of the country.

Tourism economy is a distinctive economy, and is considered to be a “smoke-free” industry. Tourism economy is a highly integrated, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, highly socialized economic sector linked to many fields, and other industries such as: transportation, agriculture, industry, environmental resources, culture and sports.

Tourism economy is understood as a system of economic relations in the field of supply and consumption of tourism products, including: industry relationships, with such industries as: travel business, tourist accommodation business, tourist transport business and other tourism services, to satisfy the spiritual needs of tourists, bringing practical economic, political and social benefits to the tourist country and the business itself.

Tourism economic development is understood as an increase in the quantity, supply scale and quality of tourism products and services to satisfy the spiritual needs of tourists, bringing economic benefits to involving stakeholders.

Ensuring environmental security

According to the United Nations Security Council, environmental security is defined as “the scarcity of natural resources, the degradation and pollution of the environment and the dangers that can undermine the economy, increasing poverty, increasing political instability, even becoming a cause for conflicts and wars”. According to the Millennium Report of the United Nations Council of America, it can be understood that environmental security is the balance state of the system of environmental factors (earth, water, air, sound, light, organisms and other physical forms) to ensure the living and development of humans and the organisms in that system. Maintaining environmental security is protecting the living environment, the environment in which we humans live and the human society. If environmental security is not guaranteed, society has no material production, no spiritual life, no existence and development. K. Marx wrote: “Man lives on nature-means that nature is his body ... man is a part of nature”(1).

And“The workers can create nothing without nature, without the sensuous external world. It is the material in which his labour realizes itself, in which it is active and from which, and by means of which, it produces”(2).

The symptoms of the insecure environment are: exhaustion of natural resources, frequent natural disasters, droughts, floods, ... degraded nature, environmental pollution, environmental disasters, climate change, ozone depletion, biodiversity degradation, etc. Therefore, if environmental security is not maintained, environmental disasters will weaken the economy, increase poverty, and increase socio-political instability.

According to the 2014 Law on Environmental Protection, “Environmental security is to ensure that there is no major impact of the environment on the political, social and economic stability of the country”(3).

Ensuring environmental security is understood as the guarantee (stabilization) of the state of the system of environmental factors to ensure the living and developing conditions of humans, as well as other species in that system. In other words, ensuring environmental security is balancing the immediate and long-term benefits in exploiting and using resources of this generation without affecting the next generation (economic development associated with environmental protection).

Associating economic development in tourism with ensuring environmental security

Based on the above concept of tourism economic development and environmental security assurance, according to the author, tourism economic development in association with environmental security can be understood as a whole set of guidelines, measures and ways in which the influencing actors increase the quantity, supply scale and quality of economic tourism activities in order to ensure safety from the dangers of the ecological environment, to bring economic benefits to related stakeholders, and make an important contribution to the country’s sustainable development.

2. The need to associate tourism economic development with environmental security

Firstly, tourism economic development is out of phase with environmental protection

The reality of tourism economic development shows that the goal towards the development process is growth, maximizing profits, while minimizing the costs for business activities, including the cost of environmental protection. The target of environmental protection activities is to preserve, prevent and limit negative impacts on the environment, respond to environmental incidents, overcome pollution, degradation, restore and improve the environment; rationally and economically exploiting and using environmental resources, protecting biodiversity. The difference in goals leads to the mismatch between tourism economic development and environmental protection.

Secondly, to ensure harmony between human beings and nature in socio-economic development

The human beings, as a natural entity, moreover a living natural entity, were born, existed and developed in the natural world, which shows that the natural world has a close relationship with them. Therefore, if separated from the natural environment, human life will cease to exist, and humans will die. Because of that, for socio-economic development, above all else we must maintain the protection of the natural environment, which is the protection of the living environment, after all, the protection of human life.

On the road of survival and development, human beings gradually separated from the natural world and set up society. The development of society slowly formed a system with its own laws of adaptive movement. In this system, people are the nucleus, the cell of society, therefore the development of human beings based on the development of society, and the development of society is aimed at human development. Thus, human existence and development are governed by two systems: the natural system and the social system; if separated from the natural environment, human beings will die; if separated from society, social people will also die. Therefore, social development should be based on maintaining a human living environment, social development must be in harmony with the natural environment and suitable with nature. In order to maintain our lives, people are always aiming for and pursuing economic and social benefits. The socio-economic development is aimed at increasing the economic and social benefits. Besides that, people also benefit from the living environment and the surviving environment. This shows that, all socio-economic development is placed under the survival benefits, the living benefits, and the environmental benefits. Therefore, any violation of the law of nature, damaging the environment will destroy the human foundation of life.

Thirdly, in accordance with the requirements of national sustainable development

Today, unsustainable development is one of the top concerns of all mankind. Countries that have economic growth have not kept pace with social progress and development and sometimes contradict social development. Economic growth without social progress and equity; workers’ income did not increase; the gap between the rich and the poor widens; the scarcity of natural resources, environmental degradation, ecological imbalance, natural disasters, and global climate change. In this situation, the trend of sustainable development to harmonize economic growth with social stability and economic development in tourism is becoming an urgent requirement for the whole world. Therefore, ensuring environmental security together with tourism economic development is one of the necessary conditions for sustainable development.

3. Forms of associating tourism economic development with environmental security assurance

Firstly, it is necessary to associate tourism economic development with economical and efficient use of tourism resources

In tourism activities, the basis for forming tourism products, tourist areas, tourist destinations, to meet the needs of tourists is tourism resources and cultural values. Natural tourism resources include natural landscape, geological factors, geomorphology, climate, hydrology, climate, ecosystem and other natural factors; cultural tourism resources include historical-cultural relics, archeology, architecture, traditional cultural values, festivals, folklore and other cultural values, and creative labor works created by humans. The two tourism resources above are two irreplaceable factors that are vulnerable, degraded, deteriorated and lost their values. These factors are both a resource and an environment for tourism development. Tourism economic development is associated with economical, efficient use and protection of natural tourism resources and cultural tourism resources, thereby, effectively and sustainably developing national or local tourism.

Secondly, planning for tourism development should be closely associatedwith that of ecological environment protection

Reality shows that, any plan for a sector or a certain field development has a link with the socio-economic master plan under requirements for the management and protection of the natural and ecological environment and historical cultural preservation values... and socio-economic efficiency. The association of tourism development planning with environmental protection planning has a reasonable role in orienting solutions to exploit and use natural resources, protect and conserve biodiversity, tourism resources, etc. in accordance with effective, quality and sustainable tourism development plans. The purpose of environmental protection planning is to create spatial planning consistency of work related to environmental protection; orientation of environmental protection, regulation and settlement of conflicts between environmental protection and socio-economic development in general, and industry development in a region, including tourism development in particular.

This problem can be illustrated through the issue of ensuring the rationality and balance between the development of the number of tourists with the exploitation and use of natural resources, the environment, etc. at the tourist destination or the capacity of the destination.

Reality shows that, any tourist destination is a country or a locality / city, is within a certain limit of geographical and administrative space. In the destination space containing certain natural and artificial resources, human resources, infrastructure, accommodation facilities, restaurants, and related services make the destination attractive. tourism and support tourism activities. When the number of visitors exceeds its capacity, a large amount of goods and services will be consumed, while the amount of resources and human resources is limited, resulting in an overload in all aspects and not fulfilling the customers’ needs.

One of the rules of the tourist destination’s capacity states that if the maximum number of passengers allowed in a period of time and a certain space is within reach, it will not affect the landscape, tourism infrastructure will not be overloaded. If the maximum capacity is exceeded, it will lead to conflict, conflict between development and the environment. Therefore, when developing tourism development plans, it is necessary to take into account the maximum capacity in tourism development planning projects and projects, such as waste treatment system, water treatment system, clean water supply, type of tourism business, maximum number of rooms for tourists.

Thirdly, it is imperative to develop forms of sustainable tourism (responsible tourism, eco-friendly tourism - green tourism)

Nowadays, in addition to the rapid and strong development in quantity and quality, tourism business activities also exert negative impacts on the environment, including natural and social environments. The reasons come from the over-exploitation and use of natural resources and energy, creating a lot of waste, polluting the environment, and limited awareness of environmental protection have reduced economic efficiency due to tourism, degraded the environment, adversely affected the image and sustainable development of tourism.

In contribution to addressing this risk, we must reconsider tourism development and environmental protection to take action for sustainable tourism development. Accordingly, tourism development must bring the best benefits to economic, social and environmental stakeholders (the State, business, people and tourists), and to protect the environment, and to use natural resources, tourism resources reasonably. Only responsible tourism, eco-friendly tourism - green tourism can solve the conflict between the development and conservation of natural and tourism resources, which is a method of sustainable development with profound humanitarianism, developed for people, ensuring a balance between factors: inside (local residents), outside (tourists), intermediaries (businesses). At the same time, this is also the goal Vietnam tourism is striving to achievethrough the quality increase in development activities.

Fourthly, economic development associated with response to climate change

According to the United Nations Report, more than 90% of climate change is caused by human activities that increase greenhouse gas emissions, including tourism. In contrast, climate change with suchphenomena as sea level rise, extreme weather, severe drought, and so on, has affected tourism activities. In that context, tourism development of the country or locality, on the one hand, is oriented towards eco-friendly tourism with less damage to the environment in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thereby slow down the process of climate changing; on the other hand, using climate change adaptation measures such as: i) Strengthening resilience to climate change, such as: developing climate change response plans, integrating adaptation options corresponding to climate change in planning and investment projects; actively participating in afforestation activities, especially protection forests, coastal mangrove forests; building dykes and breakwater embankments to protect tourism resources, tourism infrastructure and facilities; encourage the development of responsible tourism, eco-friendly tourism and green tourism; ii) strengthening capacity to mitigate negative impacts of climate change and sea level rise: encourage the use of clean, renewable energy such as solar, wind, and wave energy (tides); encourage the application of the “3R - reduce, reuse, recycle” model in tourism service establishments. These are considered the ranking criteria of “Environment-friendly”, “Eco-label” for tourism service establishments.



(1), (2) K.Marx and F.Engels: Complete Works, vol.42, National Political Publishing House - Truth, Hanoi, 2002, p.135, 130.

(3) 2014 Law on Environmental Protection, Chapter I, Article 3, Explanation of terms, point 28.


Institute of Political Economy,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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