Abstract for: Systems thinking for sustainable tourism in the Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve of Viet Nam

Cat Ba Archipelago in Viet Nam has been recognized as a world biosphere reserve. This biosphere is identified as the highest biodiversity in the country and a priority for global conservation. Cat Ba, the largest Island in the archipelago, features diverse topography, remarkable historical heritage and archaeological value. Because of these unique features, the Island has become a popular tourist destination. Cat Ba is experiencing a strong growth in tourism. However, a number of challenges pose threats to sustainable tourism development in Cat Ba including environmental degradation, high poverty level, overuse of underground water, lack of fresh water and electricity, lack of skilled labours, and poor infrastructure and recreational facilities. This paper seeks to explain how a complex and dynamic tourism systems model can be developed and used as framework for decision making and capacity development for local government and private stakeholders who share the responsibility of sustaining the system. The causal loop diagrams and stock and flow models have been developed with participation of diverse stakeholders. Alternative scenarios will be analysed to explain how tourism in the biosphere may change in the next 10-20 years as a result of both multiple investment strategies and changes in the external environments.