Our favorite travel memories are usually linked to local encounters. Whether making friends with homestay hosts, tasting new dishes in a unique setting, or watching skilled artisans practice age-old crafts, local communities are at the heart of these experiences.
Choosing community-based tourism is one of the easiest ways to travel more sustainably. Read on for a brief introduction to community-based tourism and where you can find these rewarding activities in Quảng Nam.

What is community-based tourism?

Simply put, community-based tourism focuses on bettering local lives while offering travelers genuine insights and respectful encounters. Some examples of community-based tourism products are homestays hosted by ethnic minorities, trekking tours run by local guides, and workshops that highlight local artisans.

Community-based tourism puts local people, environment, and culture at the center, and builds experiences for travelers around them. Travelers are encouraged to learn about the local way of life and contribute to the growth of communities. Importantly, community-based tourism products are owned by locals, and the revenues are shared by local households.

The best way to find community-based tours is through a sustainable tour operator based in your destination. Tour operators can connect you to communities that are ready to welcome visitors, and ensure the quality of your visit. In Quang Nam, Hoi An Express, EMIC Travel, and Hoi An Kayak Tours are a few operators building commuity-based tours for travelers.

Why is community-based tourism important?

Community-based tourism ensures the economic benefits of tourism go to people living in the destination, and that their way of life continues and improves. Here are four ways community-based tourism can benefit a destination:

Economic growth

When profits go back to the community, local people earn a better living, and can reinvest in their families, education, and in new businesses. Community-based tourism provides added income, and creates opportunities for young people to build careers in their hometowns.

Environmental protection

No one takes better care of the land than the people who live on and from it. Local residents share the responsibility of protecting the environment and wildlife for future generations, and are the best people to guide newcomers to natural landscapes and wildlife.

Cultural preservation

When community-based tourism focuses on local crafts and practices, it can boost interest and support for fading traditions. Travelers who appreciate local arts and history motivate local communities to preserve and celebrate their heritage.

Equal opportunities

Community-based tourism empowers local women, who may choose to open and manage their own homestays, shops, and restaurants, or create additional income by crafting products to sell to travelers. This paves the way for independence, fair treatment, and equal rights.

Community-based tourism in Hoi An

Community-based tourism is a fantastic way to get to know your destination in-depth, and to have authentic local encounters during your holiday. Here are a few community-based tourism projects to check out when in Hoi An and Quang Nam.

Tra Que Gardens

On the small islet of Tra Que, 180 families still follow traditional farming methods, planting, cultivating, and harvesting their plots by hand. Join a cooking class in the vegetable gardens to learn more about these practices, and support the families that live on Tra Que.

Thu Bon River

Hoi An’s serene waterways are ideal for kayaking. Plan an eco-friendly excursion with Hoi An Kayak Tours. The company’s half and full-day kayaking tours will bring you to small craft villages and beautiful hidden corners of the Thu Bon River and its many islets.

Thanh Dong Organic Farm

In 2009, 10 families in the Cam Thanh countryside pioneered the first organic farm in Hoi An. EMIC Travel offers tours of this unique project that allows visitors to learn directly from the farmers about sustainable agriculture and join a cooking class nearby.

Bai Huong Village

Bai Huong is a small fishing village in the Cu Lao Cham – Hoi An World Biosphere Reserve. Several locals here have set up small homestays. Spend a night or two immersing yourself in the village culture, and taking low-impact hiking and SUP tours on Hon Lao Island.

Bho Hoong Ethnic Village

Bho Hoong is an ethnic minority village in Dong Giang District, about 90 minutes’ drive from Hoi An. ACu Homestay organizes overnight stays and tours in this friendly Co Tu village. Come here to learn firsthand about Co Tu folk music, brocade weaving, wood carving, and architecture.

Read more: How to be a respectful travelers in ethnic villages

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