Homestay tourism in Dong Ty commune

Monday, 2020-03-09 16:57:54
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Thanh Sau Homestay is popular among visitors to Dong Ty
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NDO – Ten years ago, Dao ethnic man Tuong Van Thanh welcomed his first foreign visitors to his stilt house on the lakeside of Thac Ba Lake in Dong Ty Hamlet, Phuc An Commune, Yen Binh District, in the northern province of Yen Bai. To date, his stilt house has been upgraded to serve more visitors and his “Thanh Sau Homestay” trademark is widely known to holidaymakers to Dong Ty.

Thanh’s family has lived in the resettlement area in Dong Ty Hamlet since 1970s when the Thac Ba hydropower plant was built and put into operation. Like other households in the commune, his source of income came from agricultural farming and fishing on the lake. It wasn’t until 2008 when Thanh and his wife, Ly Thi Sau, decided to open his home’s door to welcome visitors, making them the first family to open a homestay in the commune.

In preparation for turning his house into a homestay facility, Thanh built new toilet, bought new blankets and pillows, and allocated an area near his house to plant fresh vegetables, raise pigs and chicken, and breed fish.

Since the homestay was launched, Thanh has always bear in mind to serve every tourist with sincere and hospitality as his friends. Therefore, his facility has been welcomed visitors from many European countries, including France, Belgium and Sweden, who have then introduced it to their friends after their stay there.

“Always treat visitors with all of your heart”, Thanh said, describing it as the secret of his success.

Resultantly, the brand “Thanh Sau Homestay” – from the names of Thanh and his wife, has been popular among visitors to Dong Ty without any advertisement campaign.

In a bid to increase his homestay’s attraction among visitors, Thanh encouraged his neighbours to establish an art troupe to delight visitors and restage ‘cap sac’ ritual, an indispensable rite of passage in the life of every Dao male as it helps him earn the recognition of being mature enough to join in the community’s major activities.

The troupe’s members deliver Dao folk songs and dance and invite tourists to join fire-camp and bamboo pole dance, helping them to get closer to Dao ethnic culture.

He has also visited Hanoi many times to collect experience to develop homestay services.

Scenic beauty of Thac Ba lake in Yen Bai province

Tuong Van Hiep, Thanh’s son, also gets involved in his family’s business. He takes visitors to a boat trip to Thac Ba Lake, where they can admire the scenic landscape and explore the diverse ecosystem.

Lisa Garsson, from the UK, joined a 28-member group of tourists to spend their trip in Thanh Sau Homestay. She said she was impressed by the unique culture and tasty dishes of Dao ethnic people in Yen Bai.

The success of homestay tourism model in Dong Ty, the Yen Bai Provincial Department of Science and Technology in coordination with the provincial People’s Committee conducted a research on evaluating tourist activities and seeking solutions to improving homestay tourism in the east of Thac Ba Lake in Yen Binh District, attracting the participation of more than 100 local households.

Thanks to the joint effort, tourist signs have been installed and more diverse tourist products have been created, contributing to luring tens of thousands of visitors to area. Thac Ba Lake has risen into an attractive destination for vacationers to Yen Bai.

Last April, the Prime Minister has approved a master plan on the development of the Thac Ba Lake national tourism site, planning to turn the site into a national tourism hub by 2025.

Accordingly, about 1,200ha out of total 28,800 hectares (excluding the area of the water) will be used to develop the tourism zone. Over the next five years, the site will develop into an ecotourism, resort and recreation centre of Yen Bai Province and the northern midland and mountainous area.