Tourism Boom

In Viet Nam, the GMS Program's promotion of the subregion as a single tourism destination is providing young people from poor families with a chance to improve their lives

by Ian Gill


A hotel in Hue, Viet Nam enjoys the tourist boom

The plain classrooms of the Hue Tourism School come alive with color when the female students take their seats. They are dressed in shimmering red or blue ao dai, the flowing tunic and wide-bottomed trousers that make up Viet Nam's national costume.

The school began only 5 years ago with capacity for 300 students. Yet so great has been the demand that 800 full-time and 500 part-time students now cram into eight classrooms that are used in three shifts.

Many of the young men and women are from the Central Region-one of Viet Nam's poorest areas-and are taking advantage of the current tourism boom to improve their lives.

The students-more than 80% young women- are enrolled in either 1-year professional or 2-year college courses.

"Some 30% of our students are from poor households, including ethnic minorities. They come because of the strong development of tourism in central Viet Nam," says Le Duc Trung, the school's affable vice director. "They know tourism is an important means to escape poverty."

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