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Ethical tourism and the environment

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The expansion of tourism in Vietnam has been spectacular, growing from just ten thousand foreign visitors in 1993 to more than five million in 2010. In addition, an estimated 25 million Vietnamese now take holidays within the country each year. While this has undoubtedly been a boon for the economy, tourism has brought with it serious and potentially disruptive effects environmentally, socially, culturally and economically. Some of the most distressing examples are to be found in Vietnam’s ethnic minority areas. Sa Pa’s famous “love market” attracted so much tourist attention it eventually relocated to a more remote location. Many families in the area have sold off their antique jewellery, while Hmong children beg for sweets, pens and money, and some even sell drugs.

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