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Research

The project team is conducting on-going cultural resource mapping in Luang Namtha Province, as well as documenting the effects of tourism on local culture and the environment. Data is being collected and analyzed using a standardized monitoring protocol developed during phase I of the project. Ongoing visitor and market surveys are carried out by the PTO with technical assistance from the project team in order to determine changing demographic characteristics, spending patterns, and level of interest in CBE-related activities among international tourists in Luang Namtha.

Visitor surveys

To gain a better understanding of the demographics and interests of international tourists in Luang Namtha and Muang Sing, the project team is conducting ongoing data collection.

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Mean length of stay in Laos = 23 days (range 2 - 60)

Mean length of stay in LNT = 4 days (range = 1- 14)

Mean daily expenditure = 9 US$ (range = 2 - 25)

Main entry point is Houixai (43%)

Main exit point is Vientiane (38%)

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Preliminary data indicate that the average length of stay in Laos is much longer than reported existing survey data obtained in Vientiane. Tourists reported that their main reasons for visiting the province was because of its cultural and natural attractions.

 

Participatory meeting in Nalan Village addressing heritage conservation and community involvement in the trekking operation.

Test-trek feedback

The majority of feedback the team received from test-trek participants was overwhelmingly positive. The natural environment, interaction with villagers and a sense of being “off the beaten path” were the most enjoyable aspects of participants experiences. Areas for improvement included better trained local guides, creation of a separate sleeping area for trekkers, construction of a latrine, and ensuring that enough potable water is available.

Cultural resource mapping

The project’s cultural team is conducting ongoing Cultural Resource Mapping in Muang Sing, Vieng Phoukha, Luang Namtha and Muang Nale to assess sites of high cultural importance. The team plans to: 

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Visit sites with ruins of ancient temples and stupas

Visit sites where Khmu bronze drums are said to exist

Visit and confirm the existence of stone menhirs in Nale

Include sites that have exceptional scenic beauty, historical importance, and unique artistic traditions

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In addition to the extensive cultural resource map of the region, the cultural team is producing English labels for artifacts in the Luang Namtha and Muang Sing Museums. A chart of religious and cultural festivals for the various ethnic groups in the area and accurate informational booklets about these ethnic groups are also being created.