Andrej Stein

Andrej Stein, the General Manager of Bhaya Group, overnight cruise operators in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site Halong Bay in Vietnam, speaks exclusively to TTW on ways to be more responsible when touring and contribute to the cultural and environmental preservation.



Travel And Tour World – What should travelers have in mind before planning a tour keeping sustainability in mind?

Andrej Stein : Carrying your own plastic or glass bottles is a good way to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced. Most accommodation, cruise and tour providers offer refilling of bottles.


Our Sister Company ‘Sens Asia’ and other tour operators offer packages and tours to enable you to minimize the carbon foot print whilst travelling.



Travel And Tour World – Is responsible tourism cost effective? How much revenue it generates?

Andrej Stein : In many cases responsible tourism can be both cost effective for both the guest and the accommodation provider. Guests visiting Vietnam are more conscious of their carbon footprint is increasing day by day.



Travel And Tour World: What are the challenges of responsible tourism ?

Andrej Stein : Specifically, Vietnam changing the mindset of smaller businesses and local authorities to adapt a more responsible approach can be challenging, although as the demand grows it inevitably will change.



Travel And Tour World: Which sustainability aspect is the most challenging while developing a remote island destination?


Andrej Stein : Logistics will be the biggest challenge.



Travel And Tour World: Responsible wildlife tourism has the potential to enhance conservation efforts for animals and nature. How does this work?


Andrej Stein : The ‘Bhaya Save the Langur’ Campaign has created great awareness for the Cat Ba Langur who is an endangered species. Together with the Cat Ba Langur Conservation project we created a line of souvenirs. Around 50% of the lines souvenir sales were donated to the Cat Ba Langur Conservation project.



Travel And Tour World: Does responsible tourism help in poverty reduction?


Andrej Stein : It certainly will in remoter areas by bringing a constant stream of tourism to the area.



Travel And Tour World: How responsibletourism affects and impacts traditional society?


Andrej Stein : It can be a challenge to adapt certain aspects of traditional living to be a responsible tourism provider. It is important to clearly outline the benefits of responsible tourism whilst ensuring that the traditional values and culture is preserved.



Travel And Tour World: What is the future of responsibletourism? What steps is Bhaya currently taking? What are the future plans?


Andrej Stein : The future will entail majority of tourists to take a more responsible and green approach during their trip planning. It is essential for us to maintain our current level of CSR projects to ensure that all tourists understand that it is a very important aspect of the Bhaya Group.


Across our boats we use sustainable materials that are ecofriendly and avoid plastics as much as possible. The unavoidable plastic waste that we do create is recycled. Food waste is composted.


At current we have several projects running which included our parent companies HG Foundation ‘Roots and Fruits’ campaign which entailed us planting over 400 trees across Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia offsetting over 4,00, 000 kg of Carbon.
Future plans for the Bhaya Group include installing our own Water distillation plant which will enable us to use reusable glass bottles rather than plastic bottles to provide for our guests.



Travel And Tour World: List a few countries or destinations that have implemented sustainability criteria in their tourism management strategies?


Andrej Stein : Vietnam. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand



Travel And Tour World: In your view what are the main tourism sustainability challenges the world is facing today?


Andrej Stein : Cost, logistics and lack of educational materials.



Travel And Tour World: What would advise to operators or individuals keen on starting their own responsibletourism business?


Andrej Stein : Patience and be prepared for a rather uphill struggle to convince partners and local authorities to be supportive.



Travel And Tour World: Your views on how responsibletourism has changed over the years?


Andrej Stein : It is increasing and much needed in the field of tourism. The majority of hotels now offer some kind of responsible approach throughout their properties.




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