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.
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.
2013 - 2016
Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
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