According to the Vietnam General Statistics Office, international visitor arrivals to Vietnam more than doubled over the past twelve years, from 2.1 million in 2000 to  6.8 million in 2012. Whilst domestic tourism has shown similar growth more than doubling from 11.7 million in 2000 to 23 million in 2009.  In fact, the UNWO indicates that the 8.9% growth rate of international visitor arrivals  to
Vietnam over the past decade has far outpaced the 3.4% being experienced for world tourism in general.
Whilst tourism is clearly a strongly growing sector and  important generator of expenditure, investment, foreign exchange earnings, employment, and promotion of the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, the prospect of Vietnam facing a future of mass tourism also brings with it a range of risks and challenges. Potential negative social and environmental impacts of poorly planned and managed tourism can include:
  • Over-  or uneven development
  • Cultural conflict
  • Competing for limited  resources
  • Destruction of natural environments
The UNEP also identifies  a number negative economic impacts of poorly planned and managed tourism:
  • Leakages
  • Enclave tourism
  • Inflation
  • Economic dependence
  • Shifts in demand
“Responsible Tourism is about engaging with the particular issues that arise in particular places as a consequence of tourism” – Professor Harold Goodwin, 2011.
Responsible Tourism requires us to be guided by our ethics, morals and the laws of our society, and to make decisions as both producers and consumers of tourism that will have the most positive net benefit on the people andenvironment around us. In short, Responsible Tourism requires us to be accountable for our actions (and omissions), to have some capacity or capability to act, and to then respond to make a positive difference.