Asean officials explore benefits of community-based tourism

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Twenty representatives from the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism learned more about community participation in tourism during a three-day workshop in Cambodia last week.

The workshop, aimed at the training of trainers and disseminating the Asean Community-Based Tourism (CBT) Standard, took place in Siem Reap province from May 9-11. It also drew participants from Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China.

According to a report from the ministry’s Mass Media, Culture and Tourism Institute, participants discussed lessons learnt in the field of community-based tourism in each country.

They also visited a project in a Cambodian village that had become a model for community participation in tourism development.

Officials gained a deeper understanding of the importance of involving local people in tourism development, especially the creation of the Asean CBT standard that has been adopted and implemented by Asean member countries. The standard helps in creating jobs, generating income for local people and encouraging people to protect and preserve natural resources and traditions.

Thanks to its efforts to implement and promote the Asean CBT Standard, Laos received an Asean Clean Tourist City award at the 21st Asean Tourism Ministers meeting during the Asean Tourism Forum held in Thailand in January.

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

The Asean strategy is to set tourism standards that satisfy visitors from around the world. Laos follows the Asean strategy as the 10 member countries have the same objective.

Laos also promoted its Visit Laos Year initiative by staging Lao Night in Thailand in January. The event was attended by 500 guests from Asean, Asean partners and the media.

Besides also organising Lao Night in Germany in March, the country will stage similar events in Japan in June and in Vietnam in September.

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