Ha Giang province is arguably one of the most beautiful and accessible locations for motorbike tours in Vietnam. Some people say maybe even in the world! Ha Giang features ravishing diverse landscape, tall green mountains, jungles, forests and blue rivers running in the low alleys. Therefore, it’s no surprise it’s becoming a more and more popular destination for courageous travelers. Local people and authorities welcome this, as they see a market in increased demand in travels and excursions around Ha Giang. But what happens to a community when it suddenly becomes the center of the exploding interest of foreigners?
In this previous article, we looked at how to be a responsible tourist in Ha Giang. Because we do know there might be downsides to the booming tourism. This includes commercialization of traditional culture, environmental damage and investors from the cities buying and benefiting off land that used to belong to indigenous groups. Ha Giang is now in the early stages of a blooming tourist industry. And there are ways in which you and me, as travelers, can make informed choices about our travels, to ensure a positive development in Ha Giang. However, it does not only depend on the visitors, but also on the enterprises doing business in this area. They too need to operate in ways which benefits rather than exploits the people who live here. QT Motorbikes & Tours has, since its establishment in 2015, made a variety of efforts in order to give back to the local community.
Hiring local staff
One of the ways in which QT Motorbikes & Tours gives back to the community of Ha Giang and nearby provinces is through primarily employing locals. When visiting QT, you’ll encounter many people: the guys at the shop helping you find your bike and gear, your tour guide, the staff at the reception, those who wash and fix the bikes after they return from tour, and the housekeepers. These are all locals, and most of them were born and raised in Ha Giang province. What is more, they spend their money in the nearby community, which means further contribution to the local economy.
Connections with homestays
QT motorbikes & tours cooperate with a homestays along the Ha Giang loop. These are authentic places where guests can enjoy learning about its culture and food. These homestays are run by locals who have seen an opportunity to benefit from the growing number of tourists. They do this through providing visitors accommodation and food, as well as an insight into their life and traditions. This gives both the tourist and host a chance to share experiences and grow, as well as income for the hosts which in turn is spent in the local community.
Donating to development projects
Ha Giang city is the small capital of a relatively poor province. Social institutions here such as hospitals and schools don’t always get necessary funding. Sometimes, this fact can influence the welfare of the locals. QT donates some of its profit to improve education facilities, such as buying black boards, school stationary supplies and contribute to building proper lavatories. By providing supplement for children’s education, QT hopes to contribute positively to the next generation.
One of the most important things a local tour company can do in order to make sure their clients travel responsibly through Ha Giang is to provide information. At QT, they’ll be explicit about the dos and don’ts. In addition to having a poster at the bike shop on how one can travel responsibly through Ha Giang, the guys at the bike shop will sit down and advise everyone who rents a bike. They’ll suggest, for instance, not to give treats or money to children along the way, as it encourages begging. Rather, you’ll be helping by giving a tip when service is good at restaurants and homestays. It’s also important to keep the volume down after 10 PM. And of course, they’ll emphasize on not littering nor destructing the natural environment.
With these efforts, QT motorbikes & Tours attempts to give back to the local community, so that Ha Giang, and the people here, can gain from the many travelers. We hope that when readers visit Ha Giang, they will travel with a company that sees the importance of responsible tourism. Enjoy your trip and remember to travel safely!