Haivenu's Responsible Tourism Policy

Leave only footprintsThis policy has been developed by the entire staff of Haivenu during a series of team meetings and workshops.


To be recognised as the leader in developing responsible tourism in Vietnam while providing all our visitors with an experience that significantly exceeds their expectations


We believe that

  • income derived from tourism activities in host countries should remain there,
  • visitors should be treated with respect and friendship, and should behave similarly towards the local people they encounter during their visit,
  • the economic benefits of tourism should be shared equitably, and that
  • one of the best ways of preventing damage to the natural and cultural environment is to promote activities to relieve poverty among communities who live in sensitive areas


We are responsible for

  • equipping visitors with advance information about the culture and environment of the countries that they will be visiting
  • striving to ensure that, wherever possible, the impact of our activities is beneficial to the environment and culture of the countries in which we operate
  • providing our staff with a good working environment and a salary based on profit sharing
    operating a continuous staff training programme
  • promoting responsible tourism practice, and
  • complying with all pertinent laws and regulations

General Commitments:

We will:

  • design attractive programmes in accordance with customers’ requirements
  • supply factual, honest information and interpretation - any opinions we offer will be in good faith
  • work as a staff team in accordance with the highest professional standards
  • conduct all aspects of our activities openly, ethically and responsibly
  • apply a standard retail profit margin that does not exceed 20% of costs
  • deal with complaints fairly, and will compensate if we are in error, and
  • make this policy available to our visitors, staff members, destination suppliers and sub-contractors, affiliates, and the Vietnam National Authority for Tourism

Environmental Commitments:

We will:

  • travel only in very small groups accompanied by experienced licensed local guides, and only enter environmentally sensitive areas with the permission of the local conservation authority
  • provide a code of conduct relating to environmental issues to all visitors prior to travelling and reinforce it upon arrival with detailed guidelines about environmentally conscious behaviour
  • work closely with relevant environmental agencies and organisations to promote good tourism practice as a means of poverty alleviation
  • provide support to worthwhile, but poorly funded, conservation initiatives
  • work closely with destination suppliers to encourage their development of policies relating to environmental protection, particularly regarding recycling, energy use, waste and effluent, and water conservation
  • refuse to take visitors to shops, restaurants, zoos or attractions that deal in wildlife products or abuse wildlife
  • identify good examples of destinations and local initiatives that are beneficial to the environment and include them in itineraries by default wherever appropriate, and
  • require all guides, and permanent and temporary members of staff, to be role models of correct environmental behaviour and to report any instance of bad practice among sub-contractors

Examples of contribution to environmental conservation

We are working closely with a small project in Vietnam trying save a critically endangered species of large primate, now reduced to less than sixty individuals world-wide. The project is described on our web site seeking financial assistance to supplement the meagre resources currently available to the project director while we help her to develop her own site. We are also collaborating with an international Non-governmental Organisation in setting up an ecology based village homestay in the same area to widen awareness of the urgency of the situation amongst visitors.

We have also been heavily involved in a large project to establish an ecomuseum in a natural World Heritage Area in Vietnam. This is now being developed.

Social Commitments:

We will:

  • respect the culture and lifestyle of the communities we visit, and expect visitors to follow our example
  • employ guides from ethnic minority communities where appropriate
  • make visitors aware of the risk of acculturation in little visited communities
  • help visitors to understand the issues associated with begging and suggests appropriate alternatives to giving money to people in need
  • notify visitors about regulations and risks associated with prostitution and drugs, refuse to book tours for anyone indicating an intention to involve themselves in these and any similar illegal activities, and terminate the tour of any client indulging in such practices.
  • request restaurants to provide authentic local food and to explain it to visitors
  • avoid artificial activities created to attract visitors in favour of opportunities for visitors to meet local communities and visit out-of-the-way authentic destinations
  • discourage the purchase of old artefacts or articles that may have heritage value, and
  • encourage visitors accept to fair prices in bartering, but not to overpay and thus contribute to distorting the local economy

Examples of our commitment to cultural conservation and social welfare

We provide a comprehensive database of information about the culture and traditions of Vietnam and the rest of Indochina

We have built strong links with local communities, craftspeople, artists, singers and musicians who are maintaining threatened traditions, and offer visitors the opportunity to meet them, thereby valuing the activities and thus helping towards their survival.

We use local freelance guides with wide experience and knowledge of cultural traditions and an ability to interpret the cultural heritage of the people in the places visited. They are chosen carefully by recommendation and an extended interview, followed by a trial period and feedback from visitors.

Economic Commitments:

We will:

  • employ indigenous people wherever possible
  • encourage visitors to buy locally produced products and souvenirs
  • discourage purchases of goods and souvenirs produced in poor areas but sold in city shops
  • encourage visitors to use small local hotels and homestays in poor areas
  • work only with local private and state companies wherever possible
  • support projects attempting to develop income-generating capacity in indigent local communities

Examples of our commitment to poverty alleviation and equitable wealth distribution

Haivenu is a wholly Vietnamese company. Apart from one foreign consultant employed on a part-time basis, all our staff members and guides are local people. We pay a good basic salary and operate a top-up profit-sharing scheme

We are directly involved in a large project aiming at building the capacity of poor farmers in remote areas in fourteen provinces in Vietnam

Wherever possible, we contract local indigenous suppliers and assist them to improve the quality of their services.

All our staff members are trained holistically according to international good practice so that they can manage the entire tour design and operating process from designing the itinerary to a follow-up feedback request after the customer has returned home. In addition to the sophisticated skills necessary to work effectively with discerning clients from upper income markets, they are equipped with a wide knowledge of business management and advanced Information Technology skills adequate to equip them to manage their own enterprise in the future.

We are currently introducing an opportunity for young entrepreneurs with relevant specialist skills to assist us on a contract basis whilst participating in our training scheme. When they are ready, we will help them to register and set up their business, and work with them as an independent partner company.

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Responsible Travel with Haivenu
  FFI: Primate Conservation
  The Cat Ba Langur
  The Pu Luong Project
  KOTO and Hoa Sua
  Our Responsible Tourism Policy
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