How to make partners from SE Asia participating dialogs about sustainable tourism... - Network - Tourist

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How to make partners from SE Asia participating dialogs about sustainable tourism...

Deas friends, in my presentation in Hanoi I talked about the challenge to find a common idea about a complex term such as sustainability. Also tourism is an tremendously complex term, and people working in a different field of tourism have, in consequence, a different idea about the phenomenon "tourism".
As a solution to get out of this "Babylonian confusion", as I called it, would be communication:

Acting together, sharing experiences together, exchanging opinions... and slowly, with this process, a common idea of what we, together, are meaning with a commonly used term "sustainability" - or any other term - would emerge.

The simple condition is: staying in contact, staying in the process to exchange "communicational behavior" in order to learn to coordinate it...

E.g. to take part in such a network.

BUT.... this is, itself, a cultural think. So, I want to learn.

I need your support to better understand you, our colleagues from Viet Nam and Thailand.

I want to learn to understand what would make it attractiv to you to join this network.

What are questions you have?

In what aspects are you interested in?

Which stories do you find cool to tell us, to share your experience?

Why not also to risk to learn by posting something and looking what will happen, what reaction would emerge?

Or are you afraid? Of what?

Please tell me, help me to better understand.

I feel so helpless...

Thanks for supporting me,

bye, Harry

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Ceterum censeo mutationem climae esse vincendem.

(Incidentally, I think that global warming must be defeated) 

 

Prof. (FH) Mag. Mag. Dr. Harald A. Friedl
Assoc. Professor for Sustainability and Ethics in Tourism
Institute for  Health and Tourism Management
FH JOANNEUM - University of Applied Sciences
Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Straße 24
8344 Bad Gleichenberg, Austria
Phone office +43-316/5453-6725
Phone mobil: +43-699/191.44.250
eMail: harald.friedl@fh-joanneum.at
Web: www.fh-joanneum.at/GMT

 

Dear Harry,

I deeply share your thoughts and worries. Your questions are easy to understand but hard to answer, truly. Since this is an open topic, I would like to generate some ideas with regard to ‘sustainability tourism’. To be honest, the new wave of ‘sustainable lifestyles’ in Vietnam can be seen as another trend that followed its previous counterparts of ‘green styles’ and ‘homestay tourism’. Perhaps, the worship of sustainability has lost its attractions in my homeland due to:

  • Sustainability seems to be expensive but inconvenient. Indeed, bring your own bag when shopping is still a big problem let alone reducing nylon products. In terms of tourism, we are belonging to the lowest levels of Maslow’s hierarchy: travel means luxurious and consuming. Some even have a cynical view: can we really achieve 'sustainable life’ before becoming a developed nation? Economics must be first, mass tourism must be our top priority. Undoubtedly, sustainability must stand in a queue.
  • Sustainability has not been advertised properly. To some extent, the Vietnamese media market can provide a solution for the sustainable puzzle. Observing the current trends, one can quickly figure out how easy to stir the public’s opinions or manipulate people’s mind. Unless sustainable tourism is mainstreamed, which is promoted by top models or famous singers - tricky tasks I suppose, it cannot pick up steam.
  • Sustainability has not been permitted. This sounds quite ridiculous, but it makes sense when you dig into our modern history. There were periods in which anything from the West equals to ‘bad thing’. We have learned to be cautious towards Western values, for instance capitalism in the past and sustainability now. Broadly speaking, we may keep being afraid of ‘sustainable tourism’ until it become a top-down movement.

It is just my rough ideas, so there will definitely be spaces for editing and arguing. Looking forwards to receiving your views. Once again, thank you for your kind concerns regarding sustainable developments in Thailand and Vietnam. 

Dear Mike,

thank you very, very much for your very open-hearted and honest question. This is something whichs helps a lot further - and which supports actually my personal point of view. I would love so much, if your colleagues would discuss these ideas to deliver more practical examples... or recommandations about how to overcome these very plausible points...

So, if you find some time, please give me the honore to get a deeper insight. Would you probably interested in presenting a paper in Bangkok about this? This would really have such an important impact. If you worry, I would like to offer you to do something together, by combining different positions. What do you think?

Thank you for your affort to answer me again.

Bye, Harry

Ceterum censeo mutationem climae esse vincendem.

(Incidentally, I think that global warming must be defeated) 

 

Prof. (FH) Mag. Mag. Dr. Harald A. Friedl
Assoc. Professor for Sustainability and Ethics in Tourism
Institute for  Health and Tourism Management
FH JOANNEUM - University of Applied Sciences
Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Straße 24
8344 Bad Gleichenberg, Austria
Phone office +43-316/5453-6725
Phone mobil: +43-699/191.44.250
eMail: harald.friedl@fh-joanneum.at
Web: www.fh-joanneum.at/GMT

 

Dear colleagues, first of all, I am very glad to read these honest comments. Thank you Harry for this topic and your effort to go deeper into the problem.

When we talk about the forum and how to motivate people to discuss, sometimes it´s difficult to understand the perception and mentality of people in Vietnam & Thailand since I have never been there. Maybe people are afraid to discuss "uncommon" topics such as sustainability, or they think they can´t take the profit out of it. On the other hand, maybe it´s not enough promoted at the Universities. 

I partially agree with Mike, that sustainability comes to practice after "happy people who can afford everything". But, it should not be always the case. I think it´s much much about presenting the idea of sustainability. It could be marketing or education in schools. It´s about presenting the idea of rescuing local places from environmental disasters such as pollution and waste and it is a learning process that occurs from childhood. Because people need to be aware that sustainability is not only a matter of "fashion" but of the survival of us and our planet. 

Mike said " Economics must be first and mass tourism", but why shouldn't we take advantage of sustainable tourist attractions and make them profitable. For example, colleagues Annika and Lenna wrote an amazing article and gave a brilliant example of "cooking class in Thailand " which supports the local economy. On the other side, it attracts tourists from western and European countries, since they are tired of classical tourism. I think people from Asian countries should think in this way. In the way that they can make a profit of sustainability. Of course, it is not as simple as it seems. I know that a lot of people there are trying to find a way how to earn money and buy food for the family. I believe I can better understand the point that Mike mentioned since I grew up in Bosnia which is still a developing country. Things are changing from day to day (for the better) and what motivates people to behave in such a way, is to be trendy and to be different from others, one step ahead! 

My point of view is: We all have to do our best to make this world a better place, maybe it´s not sustainability at the beginning, but in the end, it comes to this position! 

I hope my post is not too long 🙂

Best
Adis

Adis Krdzalic

FH Joanneum

Institut für Bank und Versicherungswirtschaft

adis.krdzalic@fh-joanneum.at

Dear Mike,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ST in Hue & Vietnam.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ST in Hue & Vietnam.

Among three points you raised, I agreed with the first two ones, but the third one is very stranged to me, why ST is not permitted?
I can pick thousands of evidences showing that ST was well received supports and encourages from national strategies/policies to local practices.
For example, one perpective of "the Strategy on Vietnam tourism development until 2020 and vision to 2030" is "To develop ST tied to the preservation and promotion of cultural values ​​of the nation; to ensure landscape preservation and environmental protection; to maintain security, national defense, social order and safety";

http://www.chinhphu.vn/portal/page/portal/English/strategies/strategiesdetails?categoryId=30&articleId=10051267

Or as written in the Tourism Law 2017, one tourism development principles (Article 4) is "ST development, according to strategies, plannings and plans, with key and focal points".

http://vietnamtourism.gov.vn/index.php/docs/853

At local level, in Hue city for example, from the city leaders to local households, everyone try to keep the city clean and green in daily activities, and as the result Hue was awarded the "Asean Clean Tourism city" for the two continuous periods of 2018-2020 & 2020-2022 is a nother example of sustainability.

I agree that in Vietnam, sometimes "it is better said than done" but existing efforts and practices for sustainbility is undisputed.

Again, thanks for your sharing.

Tuan

Thank you to both of you, Adis and Tuan, for your valuable contributions.

I would like to share with the network two ideas for reasons hindering a wider participation which I have siugnalized by colleagues:

  • Being unsure with the use of English as it is not the first language,
  • and the technical barriere, as this network  seems to be not compatible with smartphones.

About the first barrier, which I can understand very well, I may recommand to use Google translate. It is not perfect, but already very well developed.

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=Google+translate

In June, I translated a 70-page report for a project from German into English, and after going through, correcting some strange parts, I got a pretty high quality. This saves a lot of time... So please check it out.

 

The other aspect is the hindering doubts of making mistakes - and the fear behind to "lose face".

Well, I am from another culture, but to be "perfect" with my language was always a constitutional aspect of my identity. When I went to France to study there, I was only able to speak some words. I felt like a baby - very bad, unable to flirt... or to develop complex arguments.
What happened then? During winter holidays, I flew to the Tunisian Sahara to make a trekking trip alone through the desert, only with my backback. And there, I was invited so often by locals who's first language was Arabic. So, they also had the barriere to talk in French.
The point was: We had the same conditions, being forced to speak a foreign language... and suddenly, I was free of this bloody fear to make mistakes. Oh, I made a lot of mistakes, but the others also, but communication was in flow, and we didn't give a shit! We just had fun...

So, I only can invite you to use this challenge (beside the help of google translate) as a chance to grow personally: to become stronger then your fear of "losing face" and go on writing... and it will be better and better...

And there is another very sympathetic effect of making mistakes:

 Since I don’t care anymore about mistakes, sometimes asking my studends for an English vocabulary, those studends are losing more and more their fear about me (tall, loud, expert on strange things such as sustainability????) by doing easier to communicate with me, by losing their doubts about being "sophisticated enogh".
What counts is the content - and misunderstandings are the base of the process to get closer...
Mistakes are often helpful to let some people appear a bit more "human", "vulnerable" , facilitating contacts and relationships…

And since that time, my English is getting much better, as I am speaking and writing more, so I get more training etc. …

So, I invite you:

Don’t give a shit!

There is no English teacher her checking anything.

Even the opposite: Those who are mocking otheres because of possible mistakes are only distracting from their own mistakes...

Thank you very much, looking forward to your ideas.

Bye, Harry

Ceterum censeo mutationem climae esse vincendem.

(Incidentally, I think that global warming must be defeated) 

 

Prof. (FH) Mag. Mag. Dr. Harald A. Friedl
Assoc. Professor for Sustainability and Ethics in Tourism
Institute for  Health and Tourism Management
FH JOANNEUM - University of Applied Sciences
Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Straße 24
8344 Bad Gleichenberg, Austria
Phone office +43-316/5453-6725
Phone mobil: +43-699/191.44.250
eMail: harald.friedl@fh-joanneum.at
Web: www.fh-joanneum.at/GMT

 

Hello Guys,

Wow! I am so delighted that you guys support my viewpoints, partly, of course! Just like Harry, I believe we should closely scrutinize the definition of sustainability itself before we can come up with a satisfying answer. I keep remembering my uneasy feeling in the Climate Change class when the lecturer announced Vietnam is one of the happiest countries in the world! How come? Just because we live in a tropical climate and our direct carbon footprint, mostly comes up from heating activities, is far less than other nations. From the view of Western scholars, it is logical to put CO2 footprint in the denominator line of the happiness formula, but this calculation seems not to reflect Vietnamese people's happiness. I do not say that we are not that happy, because the happiness itself is another controversial idea, I just want to say that 'sustainability' of the Global North should be carefully interpreted in the context of Global South countries. 

@ Adis: I totally agree with you that we should focus more on education. Thank you for your understanding.

@ Tuan: Thank you for your kind comments and helpful links. But I would argue that there are two parallel worlds in our homeland. One world, which exists only on the paper, I mean, on official reports or government regulations, is quite good in terms of sustainable approaches. Yet the other world, in practice the real picture is a bit different. The people in Hue appear to work hard for the UNESCO Heritage City, but I doubt other provinces can keep up with Hue. What I mean is: there should be a whole strategy as well as supporting policies that connect all the regions and stakeholders, such as the following paper suggests:

https://thediplomat.com/2016/06/can-vietnams-tourism-industry-save-the-environment/

Once again, I really appreciate your detailed comments. Hope we all can find some innovative approaches for the sustainability puzzle.  

Mike

 

Dear @Mike,

sorry for my late reply due to lock-down. It was a pretty harsh spring, and I guess this time might have changed everything we were thinking about sustainability, environment etc. In the meantime, the balance between the triple-bottom-line has totally changed from the focus on environment back to the focus on economic issues.
Which is highly problematic.

I like very much the following cartoon which describes perfectly our present situation...

 

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Ceterum censeo mutationem climae esse vincendem.

(Incidentally, I think that global warming must be defeated) 

 

Prof. (FH) Mag. Mag. Dr. Harald A. Friedl
Assoc. Professor for Sustainability and Ethics in Tourism
Institute for  Health and Tourism Management
FH JOANNEUM - University of Applied Sciences
Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Straße 24
8344 Bad Gleichenberg, Austria
Phone office +43-316/5453-6725
Phone mobil: +43-699/191.44.250
eMail: harald.friedl@fh-joanneum.at
Web: www.fh-joanneum.at/GMT

 

To come to the point: As long as we focus on ONE cause while ignoring the interconnection of many influencing things we will continue to practice "quick and dirty solutions": If your ship is leaking, to pump water out with the bilge pump helps for zhe moment but doesn't solve the problem. It is not sustainable.

Unfortunately, our societies are not that simple. Complexity is the big challenge... or to express it with the way Bill Clinton did it once: "Stupid, it's the complexity"...

Ceterum censeo mutationem climae esse vincendem.

(Incidentally, I think that global warming must be defeated) 

 

Prof. (FH) Mag. Mag. Dr. Harald A. Friedl
Assoc. Professor for Sustainability and Ethics in Tourism
Institute for  Health and Tourism Management
FH JOANNEUM - University of Applied Sciences
Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Straße 24
8344 Bad Gleichenberg, Austria
Phone office +43-316/5453-6725
Phone mobil: +43-699/191.44.250
eMail: harald.friedl@fh-joanneum.at
Web: www.fh-joanneum.at/GMT