Projects like the ones Capilano University have been taking part in in Vietnam include the efforts of many people, lots of effort and a little bit of good luck.   In 1999Dr. Geoffrey Bird visited Vietnam to assess the need for community based tourism training.  Living in Malaysia at the time, he was piloting training in CBT in Sarawak, working with the Canadian International Development Agency and an industry operator, Borneo Adventure.  A chance meeting with a representative of the Dutch aid agency SNV, Ms Annalisa Koeman, led Geoff to visit Vietnam in 1999 to explore potential opportunities for training. By 2002, he returned, along with Maggie O‚ÄôSullivan, Dean of North Island College, to begin planning with Hanoi Open University (HOU) for a five-year project.  Ms. Judy Storr, a Canadian based in Hanoi, played an important role in liaising with local officials and HOU, namely Dr Ngyuyen Thanh, Ms. Ncoc Anh and Mr. Dan.

The project was proposed to the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC), with the goal of alleviating poverty in villages through the development of sustainable tourism services.  The actual purpose of the project was to develop training and to build the capacity of HOU to deliver it over the long term. Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through the ACCC a five-year program focused on skills based training was created. To ensure sustainability a train-the-trainer model would be adopted and implemented in the programming. 

With funding attained, a team of five faculty and five students from Capilano University and North Island College visited Vietnam and, along with eight faculty and students from HOU, toured the Sapa region. The mission was to find two communities to pilot CBT training.While taking part in village-to-village trekking the team saw an opportunity for economic development through sustainable tourism.   The teams choose to work in two ethnic minority villages: Taphin and Tavan. The villages were selected for a number of reasons:  difference in experience with tourism, and different hilltribes:  one was Red Dao (pronounced zhao), the other Giay (pronounced zai).  By the end of the five years 3 new homestays would be set up in the Red Dao village of Taphin, and nearly 15 new homestays would be licensed in the village of Tavan. In total over 200 locals would be trained.

To stay up to date with the current project visit the CBT Vietnam Project website and / or "Like" the CBT Vietnam Project facebook page