During the first week of October the team at Capilano University took a group of Red Dao women to Hanoi, their first trip ever to the city.
For a few years already the PATA Foundation has partially funded Community Tourism Training in the Sapa region in Vietnam; a project lead by Capilano University, British Columbia, Canada. As part of the project, a team from Capilano University recently took a group of Red Dao women to Hanoi for two days of highly productive meetings in the Hanoi Old Quarter.
Ta Phin entrepreneurs have met with numerous private tour operators. The women learned about the expectations and clientele of the tour operators. The experience has been valuable and enlightening to the Ta Phin entrepreneurs, whom as a group are ready to entertain the idea of packaged tourism to the villages.
For the Red Dao women, this was their first ever trip to a city. We do not know who were the most shocked, the residents of Hanoi seeing a group of women in their traditional dress walking in the streets or the Red Dao women being observed so closely by Hanoi residents. “It was a strange experience. People were stopping short in the street and just staring,” said Chris Bottrill, Dean Faculty of Tourism, Capilano University.
The group of Red Dao women visited a shopping mall for the fist time in their life. It was their first time on an escalator. But their favourite experience was the massage chairs. “The joy and smiles on their faces were impossible to describe,” said Mario Hardy, Chairman Board of Trustees, PATA Foundation. “All we know is that they went home with incredible stories to tell and memories for a life time.”
Mario added: “Developing sustainable tourism and protecting cultural heritage is an important aspect of the PATA Foundation. When it is accompanied by memorable experiences it just makes you feel good about being involved.”