Asean awards raise sustainable tourism awareness

LUANG PRABANG, Laos (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Asean awards to Luang Prabang province will contribute to raising awareness among the local people and tourism business operators about clean and sustainable tourism. 

The World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang recently bagged the Asean Clean Tourist City standard and the Asean sustainable tourism award for Phousy Hill at the Asean Tourism Forum held at Chiang Mai in Thailand.

These awards will not only add to the reputation of Luang Prabang as a tourist destination but also contribute to increasing awareness among the local residents and tourism business operators to pay more attention to clean and sustainable tourism, the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department’s Deputy Director, Dr Soudaphone Khomthavong, told Vientiane Times recently.

Two hotels in Luang Prabang – the Sofitel and Azerai – also received the Asean Green Hotel standard and the Luang Prabang View received the Asean Green Hotel standard at the forum, she said.

The department, in collaboration with the national steering committee, spent almost two years on monitoring and working with hotels and other tourism-related facilities to ensure that they met the conditions for the Asean awards.

“Then we classified or selected them before submitting them to Asean for consideration. Fortunately, Luang Prabang received assistance in infrastructure improvement from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the EU-funded project for Luang Prabang, Handle with Care,” said Dr Soudaphone.

“Although we are proud of these awards, there are many more issues that need to be improved in a short time in order to ensure that tourism here will be sustainable and able to generate incomes for the province and the local people, she added.

Dr Soudaphone said that in 2018, Luang Prabang expects tourist arrivals touch around 800,000 to 900,000, a slight increase over 2017. “However, the official number of tourist arrivals will be reported as we are now studying the collected statistics,” she added.

Laos was also awarded two other Asean standards – the Asean Green Hotel standard and the Asean Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) standard.

An award for Asean sustainable tourism was given to the Tree Top Explorer in Pakxong district of Champassak province. The hotels that received the Asean Green Hotel standard were Phoubachieng in Champassak province, Thavysok in Vientiane province and the Ngamlao in Oudomxay province.

Five other hotels that received the MICE standard were the Lao Plaza, Don Chan Palace, Landmark and Muang Thanh hotels in Vientiane.