Laos: Sustainable tourism

Laos: Fostering sustainable tourism

Tourism is an important growth industry in Laos. It accounts for seven to nine per cent of gross domestic product, contributes significantly to the creation of new jobs and constitutes an important source of foreign exchange earnings.

However, for a small country such as Laos, mass tourism also presents a challenge. It may pose a threat to the country's culture and natural environment, for example through increased traffic and more waste.

Implementing ASEAN standards

Germany is supporting the "RELATED" project (Regional Economic Integration of Lao PDR into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Trade and Entrepreneurship Development). As part of this project, assistance is being provided to local partners with regard to the sustainable development of tourism and the application of ASEAN tourism standards.

In addition to training and practical advice, the project includes activities on sustainable production and consumption. This relates to water and energy conservation and the reduction and recycling of waste in travel agencies, hotels, bed and breakfast establishments and restaurants. Such activities do not only protect the environment, they also help to save costs.

In order to create local income, support is also provided to the production of local crafts articles. Publicity campaigns are improving people's environmental awareness.

Results to date

The private sector in Luang Prabang Province has significantly improved its environmental management. This is helping to achieve Goal 12 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns).

Newly developed crafts products are generating additional income. Thanks to the implementation of ASEAN tourism standards, the quality infrastructure has improved. Moreover, a UNESCO instrument for successful destination management has been introduced. Luang Prabang Province has been presented at various fairs as a sustainable tourist destination.

Project data

Envisaged duration: May 2016 to December 2020