Project Luang Prabang – Handle with Care

A way forward to more sustainable tourism in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang, 10 May 2016 - The project “Luang Prabang - Handle with Care” has now started and was celebrated with an opening ceremony. The project has a volume of 1,800,000 Euro, out of which 1,620,000 Euro is provided by the European Union. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the German project Regional Economic Integration of Laos into ASEAN, Trade and Entrepreneurship Development implemented by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit). The project works in close partnership with sequa GmbH from Germany, the Lao Association of Travel Agents and the Lao Hotel and Restaurant Association.

The event was addressed by the Governor of Luang Prabang H.E, Mr Khamkhanh Chanthavisouk, and the EU Chargé d'Affaires, Mr Michel Goffin. It was attended by more than 100 relevant stakeholders of the project. The project partners Lao Association of Travel Agents and the Lao Hotel and Restaurants Association have presented the necessity for a more sustainable tourism promotion in Luang Prabang, and have committed to adhere to making Luang Prabang a destination that ensures sustainable tourism development. A further highlight of the event was the nomination of the ambassadors for sustainable tourism: Ms Alichith Phengsavanh, the learning manager for Hotel Maison Souvannaphoum, and Ms Bidalack Syackhaphom, the local tourism personality who will be promoting and increasing the awareness of sustainable practices in Luang Prabang in the context of the project.

The project is under the auspice and funding of the EU SWITCH ASIA II Programme with a 3-year (May 2016 – April 2019) commitment to address the challenges brought about by the ascending growth in the tourism sector in Luang Prabang. It targets an increased provision and consumption of sustainable tourism products to preserve the destination with regard to 1) the assurance of private sector uptake and benefit, 2) the responsible utilization of natural resources, and 3) the protection of cultural heritage, minorities and inclusive economic participation. The project aims to increase local capacities to implement responsible activities related to socio-cultural, environmental and economic sustainability. It assists the private tourism sector in Luang Prabang to develop and apply new sustainable tourism products. The adaptation of ASEAN sustainable tourism standards to local conditions and their application is another field of the initiative. Finally, the project improves the awareness of sustainable practices, strengthens their use by (mass) tourists and promotes Luang Prabang as a sustainable tourism destination.

Luang Prabang has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1995 and has become the main tourism destination in Lao PDR. However, it does not only welcome an increasing number of foreign visitors. It also suffers from the “ecological footprint” of tourism. Uncontrolled tourism development may result in congestion, increased pollution, the deterioration of destinations and thus lead to irreversible damage to the country’s unique natural and cultural resources.

For more information regarding the Luang Prabang – Handle with Care project please contact:
Dr. Hartmut Janus, Hartmut.Janus@giz.de, +856 (0)21 226003