Luang Prabang: Handle with Care
Luang Prabang has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995 and has become the main tourism destination in Lao PDR. However, it does not only welcome an increasing number of foreign visitors. It also suffers from the "ecological footprint" of tourism. Uncontrolled tourism development may result in congestion, increased pollution, the deterioration of destinations and thus lead to irreversible damage to the country's unique natural and cultural resources.
Following the 6th SWITCH-Asia call for proposals, a new project has been awarded in Laos: Luang Prabang - Handle with Care is a three-year SWITCH-Asia project addressing the challenges brought about by the ascending growth in the tourism sector in Luang Prabang.
"Luang Prabang - Handle with Care" targets an increased provision and consumption of sustainable tourism products to preserve the destination with regard to 1) the assurance of private sector uptake and benefit, 2) the responsible utilization of natural resources, and 3) the protection of cultural heritage, minorities and inclusive economic participation.
The project aims to increase local capacities to implement responsible activities related to socio-cultural, environmental and economic sustainability. It assists the private tourism sector in Luang Prabang to develop and apply new sustainable tourism products. The adaptation of ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Standards to local conditions and their application is another field of the initiative. Finally, the project improves the awareness of sustainable practices, strengthens their use by (mass) tourists and promotes Luang Prabang as a sustainable tourism destination.
The new SWITCH-Asia project was officially inaugurated at the Royal Palace Museum in Luang Prabang on May 10th 2016. The event was addressed by Director of Luang Prabang Information, Culture and Tourism Department and the EU Chargé d'Affaires Mr.Michel Goffin. It was attended by more than 100 relevant stakeholders of the project.
The project partners Lao Association of Travel Agents LATA and the Lao Hotel and Restaurants Association LHRA presented the necessity for a more sustainable tourism promotion in Luang Prabang, and renewed their commitment to making Luang Prabang a destination that ensures sustainable tourism development.
This new SWITCH-Asia project in Laos is led by the of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) as part of its Regional Economic Integration of Laos into ASEAN - Trade and Entrepreneurship Development (RELATED) Project, in close partnership with sequa gGmbH from Germany, the Lao Association of Travel Agents (LATA) and the Lao Hotel and Restaurant Association (LHRA).
Written by: SWITCH-Asia project team
Edited by: Silvia Sartori (SWITCH-Asia Network Facility)