On November 13, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh and Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice President and Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, signed a letter of intent to examine ways to strengthen relations and cooperation in the field of sustainable tourism.

The signing showed the efforts of the European Union (EU) and Vietnam to work jointly towards the establishment of a periodic dialogue and exchange of information on respective initiatives in the field of tourism, and to ensure the development of sustainability and competitiveness in tourism.

The two sides agreed to exchange good practices in the development of sustainable tourism among tourism authorities and main stakeholders, including the academic world, notably in the fields of natural and cultural heritage preservation and promotion, small and medium-size enterprises, training and skills, and the improvement of tourism service quality.

The EU is supporting Vietnam through the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme (ESTR) from 2011 to 2015.

The ESTR is the largest technical support programme for tourism in Vietnam, funded by the EU with EUR11 million with the Vietnamese Government contributing EUR1.1 million. It aims to mainstream responsible tourism principles into Vietnam’s tourism sector, to enhance competitiveness and contribute to achieving the country’s Socio-Economic Development Plan./.