Agriculture tourism occurred ten years ago when travelers flocked to Da Lat City to watch a kind of giant red pumpkin weighing nearly 100 kilograms at farmer Le Huu Phan’s farm and they bought agricultural products in the farm and neighboring farms.
Realizing that people are excited about strange fruits and vegetables, farmer Le Huu Phan continued growing bizarre tomatoes, baby cucumber and colorful veggies. Gradually, the farm has become a popular tourist destination.
Years later, more farmers in Da Lat City grow strawberry, vegetables as per hydroponic method which means growing plants using the mineral nutrient liquid solution without soil, fields of hydrangea and lavender flowers where holiday-makers can experience the unique beauty of farms in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat. Since then the agriculture tourism has been developed.
The special tourism has become a necessary means for many small farms’ survival. By diversifying business operations, farm operators are able to ensure a more stable income.
Accordingly, the People’s Committee in Lam Dong Province issued a document for recognition of the new tourism in October, 2017. As per the document, to be qualified as tourism destinations, farms must satisfy at least 24 criteria amongst 30. These criteria include airy and greenery space, agricultural products with clear origins with listed reasonable prices, farming equipment for tourists to do farming work.
So far, 33 individuals and organizations in Lam Dong Province have been recognized as agricultural tourist destinations. These venues have diversified their products and built landscape to meet local and international tourists. Owners of farms invested VND377 billion in 302 ha farms.
Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, Deputy Head of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Lam Dong Province said that more and more travelers have flocked to Da Lat City; specifically, from 2018 till now, nearly 6 million holiday-makers have paid visits to farms. The newly-developed industry has brought nearly VND250 billion for the province and the province has collected VND25 billion for its state budget.
Though farmers have spent much on their farms in a bid to attract tourists, it has not been carefully planned; hence, the potential of the smokeless industry in Lam Dong has not fully exploited. Additionally, there has been no linkage between farms to establish a close production procedure to serve visitors. Last but not least, farm owners have not hired trained tourist guides to introduce their farms professionally. Of 1,000 local employees in farms, 48 guides have been trained and certified.
Being an experienced person in agriculture tourism in Da Lat City, Tran Huy Duong, Director of Langbiang Farm Company, said that the agriculture tourism has faced difficulties because of present regulations. Moreover, small-scale farms should link together to develop strongly. The administration should have beneficial mechanisms to assist them.
Deputy Chairman of the People’s Committee in Lam Dong Pham S said that agriculture tourism is necessary because it helps to increase value of agricultural products many times. He revealed a new criteria with the aim to boost the agriculture tourism after the administration has taken opinions of farm owners and enterprises. The new criteria will be released soon.
By Doan Kien - Translated by Dan Thuy