REBUILDING TOURISM COMPETITIVENESS: Tourism response, recovery and resilience to the COVID-19 crisis
Proudly contributed by Janina Bikova
This brief outlines the ecotourism model implemented at the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area (NEPL NPA) in Houaphan Province, Lao PDR (Laos). The ecotourism products at NEPL NPA have been designed to create a direct link between conservation and tourism so that the money that tourists pay has a positive impact on encouraging local people to protect endangered wildlife. is is achieved through both direct employment of local people in service provider groups, and through incentives that provides benefits to a larger number of villages linked to wildlife conservation.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has been supporting the NEPL Management Unit since 2003, and has assisted with the development of ecotourism products commencing in 2009. During this time significant experience has been gained on how to implement ecotourism in the Laos NPA context, and how to ensure effective operations and meaningful community engagement. Currently 26 villages (more than 2000 households) are participating in ecotourism with 4 villages being directly engaged to provide services for tours.