Community Project in Laos
“Living, learning and sharing moments in our lives!”
Every year Tiger Trail and Fair Trek works on projects to help develop remote areas around Luang Prabang. These projects focus on community cooperation and alternative income generation. We integrate actively tourism activities to benefit local villagers.
After building a Clay School in 2011 we are implementing a deeper project which is more linked to tourism. We’ve started a community based tourism project with the construction of an “Eco-Bungalow”.
This project will engage the community of Long Lao Mai village in the construction and the management of the structure. Before the bungalow is ready to welcome guests, the villagers will be educated and trained on the maintenance, service, and general management of the bungalow.
Community based tourism is still a novelty in Laos.
One of the reasons is the complexity of these types of projects. It is both challenging and rewarding. We have to consider the village capacity, needs, and willingness to partake; our capacity to collect enough funds; the volunteer work force and marketability to tourists who would stay in the bungalow. We also have to work with the Luang Prabang Provincial Tourism Department. So, to create efficient long term activities, we have to work in collaboration with villagers, volunteers, partner organizations and the government.
At the moment there is no home-stay set up in Ban Long Lao Mai, but tourists passing through the village are required to pay 2000 kip per person and a local guide (50,000 kip) assists them to trek to the waterfall. The 2000 kip goes into a village fund and is used for tourism related expenses.
Since the beginning, we’ve been in discussions with the village chiefs about the construction and the organization of the bungalow project.
When completed, the first Lao eco bungalow will belong to, and will be managed in full responsibility of the villagers.
The only role and responsibility of Tiger Trail and other selected tour operators will be to bring visitors from around the world to this rather remote area.
The Eco Bungalow project will bring direct alternative source of income to the villagers. This includes a role rotation system for the local families which are interested in guest servicing and management. We encourage people to create services or goods to offer. Also a part of the money (to rent the eco bungalow) will go to a fund which has to benefit the whole village. For example, it can cover emergencies, some medicine expenses or be used for a common project.