Minh Trang decided to drop out of a master’s degree in the US, come to Phu Quoc to open a homestay and develop a “tourist fishing village” with locals.
Phi Minh Trang, born in 1996, is a Hanoian, currently living and doing business in accommodation services in Phu Quoc. Looking at her own achievements, Trang recalled the time three years ago when she gave up studying for a master’s degree in the US and opened a homestay alone in Phu Quoc .
Trang graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the UK and returned home at the end of 2017, intending to take a year off to continue studying in the US for a master’s degree. She has completed all the documents, just waiting for the interview to go. However, the young girl always dreamed of opening her own homestay, along with her plan to study a master’s degree in the US.
Like a charm, Trang’s parents built a house near the sea in a residential area of Phu Quoc for the family to visit occasionally. Trang sees the potential and proposes to rent out the family’s own house to run her own business. On the day of the interview, Trang “takes a deep breath” and decides to cancel her plan to study in the US and stay in Vietnam. “I gave up my US visa to open a homestay because my heart told me this is my favorite job, if I don’t do it, I will lose the opportunity in a few years. Between the opportunity to open a homestay and the opportunity to study abroad, I choose to open a homestay” , Confidential page.
At the age of 23, Trang ventured into a business with empty hands. The capital she borrowed so far is still in the process of being repaid. “Leasing mining land in Xom Chai is very risky, so no one dared to do it, but I was a pioneer.”
The homestay was born, named Chill House, with only 4 rooms. Talking about the name of the homestay, Trang wants visitors to have a feeling of relaxation when staying by the sea, listening to the gentle waves at home. Each room is designed by Trang as a private house of local people with a view of Phu Quoc fishing boats, immersing in the life of fishermen. Right in front of the door is a people’s market open from 5am to 8am, visitors can buy fresh seafood almost at home. “It was quite reckless when deciding to start because the homestay is located in a fishing village that is still a dirt road, not focusing on many services for tourists, so I am very worried about whether guests will be satisfied,” she shared.
As an international student accustomed to independence, Trang wants to do everything by herself, from the smallest things. When she first opened a homestay, the young girl could only sleep for 4 hours because she had to hold too many things at once, on her own 24/24 hotline of the homestay. In particular, because she built a house close to the sea, Trang was very afraid, losing sleep every rainy season. “We have to be careful embankment otherwise it will be dangerous in the rainy season. In addition, building a house next to the sea should depreciate things faster.”
After 6 months, when building enough room size, Trang started recruiting staff, training them from her own actual combat experience. Because they want to build Chill House as a local homestay, all staff are locals. Opened in November 2019, Trang’s homestay has 4 zones with a total of 18 beachfront apartments. There are many positive comments from visitors about Trang’s homestay such as beautiful sea view room, only 1-2 steps from the sea, economical price, near local market to buy things. But the negative point is that the homestay is located in an alley, not a large road, in a rustic style, so it is not suitable for guests who like luxury resorts and groups.
From a small homestay, Trang develops community tourism for the whole residential area. She named it Tran Phu fishing village after the road near the sea near the residential area. Before, no one called this residential area a fishing village or a fishing village, so when Trang named it and hung the sign, people were quite confused. “In fact, the whole area has been fishing for decades, it’s clearly a fishing village, it’s just that no one has ever conceived of this,” Trang explained. Initially, Trang named it “village”, then used the word “neighborhood” because Phu Quoc had moved to the city.
She commented on her own that the idea of developing community-based tourism, naming residential areas and developing tourism services together as she did is a strange model, creating diversity and uniqueness in Phu Quoc tourism. “I think that the people of Xom fishing village can develop more tourism, which will be great. When there is a large enough number of homestays, food and grocery services will appear. The fishing village will become a tourist destination. In my opinion, it is the highlight of Phu Quoc being commercialized, resort projects are springing up like mushrooms.” The young girl also emphasized, this is also a way to prevent the fishing village from becoming a resort project in the future.
The page encourages people in the neighborhood to do tourism to develop culture in a more civilized way, change the community’s mindset and want no one to be “wasted property”, taking advantage of everything to do tourism. “If my neighbor’s house needs support to open a homestay, I’m ready to support it. I want them to know that their property just needs a little more investment to be able to generate a good source of income. In Tran Phu fishing village, due to the Because people’s houses are close to the sea, so every year in the rainy season, the cost of embankment is expensive.I think if we can promote them to develop tourism from these houses, it will create more value than just living. It’s too hard and expensive to live in,” Trang confided.
If there is no time for social distancing, the capacity of Chill House is almost always full. In the last 3 months, the capacity is over 92%. When Trang’s homestay no longer has rooms, she will introduce guests to other homestays in the neighborhood. “Many times the whole neighborhood was full of rooms, at that time the atmosphere was so crowded”. Cafes and grocery stores have also gradually sprung up to serve guests who come here to relax.
Thinking about quitting studying abroad 3 years ago, Trang has no regrets because she thinks “what happens is what must happen”, only occasionally thinking why she has to work so hard. If she still goes to the US, she envisions enjoying life in the beautiful West, blogging to share her life abroad. Opening a homestay, in the first time, Trang often felt lonely and sad when living far from family and friends, had to do everything alone, and worried about whether the decision was right and whether she could do the job or not. .
“However, every owner has to go through their own loneliness, even if there are many people around, they still have to make difficult decisions alone.” Currently, she is less sad because she has employees, friends and is used to life in Phu Quoc, if she is bored, “carry your suitcase everywhere”. According to Trang, happiness and sadness are built by yourself.
With the current results, the girl hopes that young people have more motivation to do what they love. To find out if you can do or really love what you do, don’t be afraid to commit. “When we are young, what we have is youth, be ready for a trial, error, correction and learning attitude,” Trang said.
(According to vnexpress )