Product development for conservation areas with a focus on the community aspect

Phuong Tran
Publicado: 29 Diciembre 2022
Última edición: 29 Diciembre 2022
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Community tourism can bring vast opportunities to communities living in and around protected areas. However, to thrive in the tourism sector, having natural and cultural resources that people can visit is not enough. Before talking about product development, it is crucial to understand two things: how the communities feel towards tourism, are they keen to work in the sector? and what is the current state of tourism in the locality?

This information can be obtained through surveys and observation. Once it is certain that the majority of community members are eager to work in tourism, the next step is to determine what training they need for product development.

In the case of the communities in Cuc Phuong National Park and Van Long Nature Reserve, the training provided focused on Ecotourism products & itinerary development, Health & Safety and Marketing. With this training, communities were able to develop touristic products to highlight their natural and cultural resources.


Sudeste Asiático
Scale of implementation
Bosques tropicales de hoja perenne
Ecosistemas de agua dulce
Ecosistemas forestales
Humedales (pantano, turberas)
Acceso y participación en los beneficios
Gestión y planificación de áreas protegidas y conservadas
Medios de vida sostenibles
Poblaciones indígenas
Servicios ecosistémicos
Falta de acceso a financiación a largo plazo
Falta de oportunidades de ingresos alternativos
Falta de infraestructura
Falta de capacidad técnica
Sustainable development goals
ODS 1 - Fin de la pobreza
ODS 11 - Ciudades y comunidades sostenibles
ODS 15 - Vida de ecosistemas terrestres
Aichi targets
Meta 11: Áreas protegidas y conservadas
Meta 18: Conocimiento tradicional
Meta 19: Intercambio de información y conocimiento


Cúc Phương, Nho Quan, Ninh Bình, Vietnam | Cúc Phương National Park, Vân Long Wetlands Nature Reserve
Gia Hoà, Gia Viễn, Ninh Bình, Vietnam


  • There was little to none community tourism existing in both selected PAs, making it hard for capacity building for communities in a short timeframe. Among households being interviewed, only 3.2% and 1.5% of the households in Cuc Phuong NP and  Van Long NR respectively made the majority of their livelihood through tourism pre-COVID. 

  • Due to little community tourism practice, local communities also lack good infrastructure to provide travellers with a comfortable stay.

  • Despite a high percentage of respondents interested in learning new tourism skills (>70%) and diversifying their income (>80%) via tourism, people are still hesitant to engage in tourism initiatives without initial support.

  • With the main labour force between 36 and 65 years old (65-67%), dedicated to agriculture / forestry (58-80% of total household income), training participants are mostly middle-aged and above and have a limited ability to grasp modern knowledge.


The residents of 5 selected villages in and around Cuc Phuong National Park and Van Long Nature Reserve

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

Through training courses (BB1) the “local champions” were identified. They play an important role in leading this initiative and being an example for other community members. In developing tour itineraries, those ‘local champions’ were the main members of their community who took part in the process and delivered the tour (BB2). Finally, when the itineraries were finalised, product testing was necessary for feedback and adjustment (BB3).


  • 03 training courses with the content contextualised according to actual local assets and knowledge were provided to 05 selected villages

    • Product Development training: 193 participants

    • Health & Safety training: 183 participants

    • Marketing & Promotion training: 138 participants

  • 04 new tour itineraries were designed based on the inputs gathered during product development training with local communities, in which 02 itineraries were put to test 

  • One learning trip and 03 test trips with a total of 10 visitors were organised in Van Long and Cuc Phuong, directly benefiting 12 service providers with total revenue of 451.00 USD. During the pandemic, they did not receive any guests (thus, no revenue from tourism).

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Planeterra International Foundation Planeterra International Foundation