On March 6th and 7th The mid-term evaluation workshop for Cotu Community-based Tourism project was co-organized by Nam Giang PC and Foundation for International Development/Relief (FIDR).
The Cotu CBT project is implemented from 2011 to 2016. This project is promoting CBT that is managed bu local residents, to preserve and promote the local resources such as traditional culture natural environment, and economic value. This mid-term evaluation was conducted on the occasion of the two-year completion of the project.
Main purposes of the evaluation are to confirm effectiveness of tourism as a means of community development, to identify impacts by tourism to the community, as well as to plan for the future.
The evaluation workshop includes a model tour to CBT project site in Nam Giang on the 6th where participants can enjoy the traditional dance of Cotu people – tung tung ya ya, have lunch with Cotu foods, experience Cotu life and learn unique bead-weaving. On the following day, a sharing workshop was organized in Hoi An city with the diverse participants of representatives from national level, provincial, district, commune to Cotu villagers.
Voices from villagers and communal officers express that an important impact of this project is that it awakes the pride of Cotu people and strengthens the unity of the community. “Many traditions and cultures were being lost. And young generation did not want to learn. But now more young people ask old people to teach them how to weave, play gongs and dance.” Head of Tabhing commune – project target area – expressed his opinion firmly, “Though income from tourism has still limited impact to the life of people, we would like to continue this tourism, because we can preserve and promote our Cotu culture and we are proud of it.”
Though admitting that this project still has limited number of visitors, Mr. Dinh Hai – Director of Quang Nam DCST – appreciates this project for meeting the tourism development policy of QN and especially, it promotes the voluntary participation of local people in sharing their culture with outsiders. Joining this workshop, there is also an international tourism expert, Mr. Keiichiro Takadera, leader of the evaluation team. He shared that through his analysis, this project is on the right direction of a “real” CBT model. The project had got certain achievements such as being capable of establishing a local tour operation unit, identifying carrying capacity of the tourism site at the very first stage, determining to develop as a day-tour destination. All these factors contribute to balancing people’s life and minimize the negative impacts to community.
The workshop ended with many valuable contributing opinions for future development of the project. It is necessary to strengthen capacity of local people and government so that after the project finished, they can manage the operation smoothly and can protect their culture from commercialization and industrialization. The project should not forget about individual market and homestay market; however, policy for developing these markets should be considered carefully.