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The UNESCO-LNTA Nam Ha Ecotourism Project is a community-based ecotourism initiative implemented by the Lao National Tourism Administration (LNTA) in and around Lao PDR’s Nam Ha National Protected Area. The UNESCO Office of the Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia and the Pacific provides technical assistance and monitoring to this award-winning project, with the generous financial support of the Government of New Zealand. In collaboration with national partners such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Information and Culture and the Science, Technology and Environment Agency - in addition to a number of international organizations - the project is encouraging cooperation between the public and private sector to implement a community-based ecotourism development approach that places local communities at the center of the tourism development and management process.


Another main focus of the project is to assist the Laotian authorities establish mechanisms that ensure tourism makes measurable contributions to the conservation and protection of the country's outstanding natural and cultural heritage in an economically viable framework. 


First launched in Luang Namtha during October 1999, the project has been recognized by the United Nation's Development Programme (UNDP) as a “best practice” poverty alleviation intervention, winning the UN Development Award for Poverty Alleviation in Lao PDR in 2001. For its contribution to natural heritage protection, British Airways acknowledged the Nam Ha Project in the 2002 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, National Parks and Protected Areas Category.  For a complete overview of the activities and accomplishments of Phase I of the project, download the Nam Ha Ecotourism Project Phase I External Review Document.  The current Nam Ha Ecotourism Project Phase II project document, as well as the first annual report (2005-2006) may also be downloaded.

News and Events

Take the Lao road
By Amar Grover, Geographical, July 2008
One of the world’s poorest countries, Laos has opened up to the economic rewards of tourism. An ecotourism project is benefitting the region’s broad mix of ethnic peoples.