Phou Iu Travel
Community Based Tourism & Adventure Specialist in Northern of Laos
Your Tour Benefits to Villagers, Nature & Culture
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Laos Simply BeautifulLuang Namtha Travel Company
Follow the Money in Luang Namtha, Laos
  Tai Youn Traditional Baci-Ceremony  
Tai Youn Traditional Baci-Ceremony
  Early in the new millennium, a New Zealand-funded UNESCO team guided a handful of trekkers along a trail in Luang Namtha to a remote Khmu village. Feedback from this pioneering group of paying tourists would help design the country’s first Community-Based Tourism (CBT) activity, the Ban Nalan Trek.

What they didn’t know was the trail they were blazing in the Nam Ha National Protected Area (NPA) would win a United Nations Development Award and become a model for poverty alleviation. Since then, the Provincial Tourism Department (PTD) has added a much wider choice of CBT treks.
Meanwhile, private tour operators embraced the CBT concept of benefitting the villagers. They began offering these treks, and applied CBT practices in their kayaking, rafting, and mountain biking programs. Now, CBT is ingrained in almost all their tours, and in early 2012 a group local tour operators formed the Sustainable Tourism Network to show their commitment.
By following the CBT model, the PTD and tour operators ensure villagers receive their fair share of the revenue received from homestays, visits, and other activities. Villagers are partners, who provide services and maintain the natural attractions and trails.

They work as guides, drivers, and boatmen. Money also comes from selling handicrafts, serving meals, and providing accommodation. In fact, around 50 per cent of the fee you pay goes directly into the villagers’ pockets, and a smaller sum lands in the Village Fund.

A fat piece of the pie is earmarked for a Nam Ha NPA Trekking Permit, taxes, and promotion and marketing efforts. In fact, after subtracting salaries, office expenses, and overhead, tour operators find no one is getting rich, but everybody wins.

The New Zealand government continues to support the CBT model through its CBT-SED project by improving and diversifying attractions and working with local businesses and the Lao government to ensure a sustainable future for Luang Namtha tourism.
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Update: 05 July 2016
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