A recent report from the Institute for Tourism Development Research reveals that prior to the Covid outbreak, tourists in Vietnam produced 116,000 tons of plastic waste in 2019. Of this, 61,000 tons were discarded by 85 million domestic tourists, and 55,000 tons by 18 million international tourists.
If no immediate action is taken, this amount is expected to triple by 2030, according to the institute’s director, Nguyen Anh Tuan. This will have a significant negative impact on the environment.
Ha Van Sieu, the deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, discussed the mounting pressure on the tourism industry to address the issue of plastic waste at a recent tourism conference. In response, the industry is developing a project to reduce plastic waste in popular tourist destinations. For example, Ninh Binh and Quang Nam provinces, home to the UNESCO heritage sites Trang An Landscape Complex and Hoi An Ancient Town, will pilot a ban on plastic products at some restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions.
The usage of plastic in tourism activities has significantly increased in Vietnam in recent decades, resulting in plastic pollution and endangering sustainable tourism development. Vietnam’s poor performance in the global sustainable tourism ranking is also a concern. In 2021, it ranked 96th out of 99 economies, finishing in the bottom five.
The government of Vietnam has acknowledged the significance of managing plastic waste in sustainable tourism. The government has pledged to reduce its plastics usage by 75% and stop generating plastic waste in coastal tourist areas by 2030.
Laws and regulations have been implemented to regulate the pollution caused by non-biodegradable plastic bags. Public education initiatives have also been launched to encourage people to switch to natural materials, reuse plastic bags, and reduce plastic waste.
Many tourism businesses in Vietnam have adopted strategies to minimize plastic consumption, such as replacing disposable plastic items with eco-friendly products. The Vietnamese tourism industry has taken important steps towards reducing plastic waste pollution in tourism activities.
In 2020, Vietnam’s foreign tourist arrivals were 3.6 million, roughly 20% of pre-pandemic levels. The country aims to attract 8 million visitors this year.