Champasak Tourism Business Promotion Project

Tourism in Laos is one of that inland Asian country's fastest growing economic sectors. On the one hand, tourism bears significant employment and income opportunities, especially for economically disadvantaged populations and also women. On the other, the tourism sector faces considerable challenges: the range of products and quality offered by service providers is insufficient, i.e. tourism-oriented SMEs have to import goods and rely on foreign labour. In addition, there is not enough cooperation among various actors in the tourism sector, which results in products and services not being developed with the market in mind. Champasak Province (southern Laos) does not feature a coordinated marketing strategy and thus tourists do not even make it there, or else they spend too little in the region.  Moreover, preventing the negative consequences of tourism development in coordinated fashion, such as from environmental pollution or sex tourism, is central to keeping this destination attractive over the long run.

The Project

This project strengthens the competitiveness of the tourism sector in southern Laos. The idea is to attract international tourists and increase the length of their stays and amounts of money they spend in the region by offering high-quality and diversified services, attractions, and activities.
First of all, the project is investing in training of tourism sector professionals: hotel, bed-and-breakfast, and restaurant employees, as well as tour guides and individuals not yet working in the sector, have access to high-quality training courses. Beneficiaries thus can expand their technical knowledge and professionalise their hands-on work. Thanks to highly qualified personnel, tourism businesses for their part can improve the services they offer and increase their competitiveness as a result.
Second, the project aims to institutionalise collaboration between private and public sector stakeholders in the tourism sector through destination management structures. Specifically, it supports the creation of sustainable and responsible tourism institutions, which results in more respectful relations with local populations and care in protecting the environment.

Results

  • 82 staff members from 14 different hotels have been trained on at least 1 of the Lanith Passport to Success modules in hospitality skill.
  • Amongst 15 Junior Passport to Success (JPS) industry trainers 8 have proven to be competent trainers and are able to deliver trainings in the areas of food and beverage services, housekeeping, food production, front office and bakery.
  • 219 staff members from 58 different hotels, guesthouses and restaurants have received training on a block of at least 10 modules of the JPS Programme. 90% of SME owners mention that they perceive a clear improvement of staff performance after the JPS training.
  • 5 English training volunteers were built up through the Lao Vida Language Centre
  • 50 people have been trained on English for Tourism Programme
  • 2 Master trainers have been trained on practical tour guiding skills modules and are ready to cater to demand from the labour market
  • 91 private tour guides working for 34 different companies have been trained on practical tour guide modules.
  • Developed River Life Excursions (RLE) on the 4000 islands that involved 20 households and 6 different enterprises. The product has certainly incentivized people on the 4000 islands to offer better and different products which are in high demand amongst a higher spending tourism market.
  • A participatory branding process has resulted in the successful launch of a destination webpage (www.southern-laos.com), a brand logo and several promotional materials
  • The CTBP destination management model has been adopted by the national government and is being replicated in all major tourism locations in the country

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