Ms. Lien started up community tourism company as a student with only 100 USD. Two years later the young girl became the director of the tour company. Tripadvisor – a famous tourism site of the world certificated “Excellent Service” for her company in 2016.
Not anyone starting a business which will be successful. However, if you are passionate and want to burn with passion, you try hard. Youth are not afraid to create challenges for themselves. Life always teaches us the lessons from these setbacks.
Nguyen Thi Huong Lien is a young director (24 years old, born in Quang Tri) and her company has a very impressed name “I love Hue” (Toi Yeu Hue). This year, Lien will launch another branch “I love Hoi An,” and opened a coffee shop for the deaf people.
You are not just women, but also people coming from other provinces. Besides, you established travel company “I Love Hue Tour” when you was a third-year student. So which difficulties have you faced?
The first problem is money. To have money so as to maintain the tour, I have to work more in the restaurant for foreigners and work for a travel company in the UK and non-governmental projects to earn extra income and finishing products myself.
Initially, I was self-inquiry, then learn people to set up the website to introduce and promote my tours online.
The first days of the product introduction, tourist companies, hotels do not support this idea because they thought I was too young to give a special tourism product of Hue. I’m disappointed. However, because the desperation of the hardships of that day made me stronger, I decide to continue to go alone in the search for and learning through networking.
My greatest joy is that Mr. Layton Pike family – minister and deputy ambassador to the Australian Embassy in VN booked our tour when they come to Hue instead of choosing branded tours.
You have studied international relations (Hue University of Foreign Languages), but starting a business in the tourism industry. Have you ever thought you had the risk choice?
It says that the majority of people choose careers, it’s rare that the careers choose people. Tourism community chose me, lit in me with the idea to help the community from the main tourist activities. Everyone said I was an adventurous girl when starting a business a capital of 100 USD and I was 21 years old.
I can not explain, but when this idea came up, I just want to do my best and do not think about failure. I am passionate about it and motivate myself that I must effort daily to achieve my goal. Actually I Love Hue, and I want each visitor travelling in Hue will say “I Love Hue” with true love.
I want to take this tour to other cities so that international tourists will say “love with those cities” and then they’ll say “I love Vietnam” by their hearts. I will start from Hue to Hoi An, Saigon and Hanoi and expand abroad.
Our company guides not only ordinary tourists but also the deaf and dumb visitors. I hired a deaf teacher to teach sign language for my staffs so as to open the special tours for them who are not lucky, but they still have the desire to explore the world.
Your company has 25 employees but only two male employees, whether you spend a special priority for women?
I worked with foreigners in the early days and I have chances to come other countries for my job. These make me open my mind and find yourself becoming more dynamic. For Vietnamese women, most of them are too dependent on men and hardly have chances to be independent. They are often afraid of this one, the other ones. Therefore, I am hiring mostly women with my wish that I could contribute my effort to make female students in Hue become more dynamic.
In addition, I also want you to understand the value of life which is to create value and dedication for the community. I want to spread my burning passion in life for young women in Hue by activities themselves.
You deduct 20% of the company profits to share with the community through various activities which the visitors with company employees make. Why did you choose the direction of business associated with the community activities which a few start-up companies do?
From grade 12, I participated in non-governmental organizations and played a pregnant girl and go to Quang Tri hospital to examine ways of consulting health authorities before the issue of pregnancy in adolescence. When I studied in the university, I became the volunteer of many projects, non-governmental organizations, so I understood the community still has a lot of people needing our help.
Since then, when I established my company, Hue tours are always tied to the community experience. I want their values to be able to bring smiles to people and I also feel happy to do something for society.
Currently, many young people are afraid of independence and touch. They only prefer to live in the “guise” of their parents, and you are opposite to them?
The family did not know that I am a company director, just know I work travel tours and regularly participate in international conferences. I think that young people should be independent, and do what you want and feel happy.
Let’s bring values for the community from your actions. Young people should learn and share each other because everyone in this world is different and we learned from them different things.
New tourism products for Hue
In the recent years, Huong Lien – the name comes from Vietnam – become familiar in the Forum for Young Leaders in the region such as ASEAN Leaders (Malaysia), World Village (Indonesia), Global Startup ASEAN Youth ( Malaysia), ASEAN – Japan Youth Forum (Indonesia) …
In addition, Lien is also a representative of Vietnam to attend international forums about social entrepreneurship. Her initiatives were recognized by the international community such as health insurance for the poor, donating bikes for students in remote areas, free vegetarian meals for poor patients …
According to a leader of the Tourism Department of Thua Thien Hue, he appreciated the initiatives and efforts of Huong Lien when she creates a new tourism product for Hue. This is a new type of tourism which are attracting tourists in the world because of creating cohesion between the visitors and the community.
Besides, Lien also creates chances for the students being prepared to graduate in all majors and having the English background of tourism will have extra incomes and be practiced the language with visitors.
Ms. Huong Lien is a good example for young people to follow, because she started up community tourism company with only 100 USD and she is gradually successful on her way.