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Training and Capacity Building

Training activities during phase II of the project mainly focus on refining the interpretative skills of the over 100 local guides trained during the first phase of the project, increasing host communities abilities to implement and manage ecotourism activities in a sustainable way, and strengthen tour operators ability to promote CBE in an accurate and culturally appropriate manner. Rather than setting out to accomplish these formidable tasks on their own, the project team will focus on identifying and “training trainers” from the public and private sector in Luang Namtha to conduct near-term and future training activities.

 

Capacity building is centered on strengthening the ability of the Luang Namtha Provincial Tourism Office (PTO) and Nam Ha National Protected Area (NPA) Management Office’s ability to plan for and manage tourism in the province. The project team assists the PTO and Nam Ha NPA Management Office conduct bi-annual tourism management and planning workshops with provincial stakeholders and provides on-going assistance to these institutions in order to help create provincial and district level tourism management plans.

 

These training and capacity building exercises build on initiatives undertaken during Phase I of the project. Initially, the Nam Ha project team was mainly involved in performing visitor surveys, tourism & conservation awareness workshops, provincial and village guide training, other tourism-related service training, small-business management training and monitoring.

 

Village Outreach in Muang Sing & Luang Namtha

In cooperation with Luang Namtha’s Tourism Office and the European Commission Integrated Rural Development Project, Nam Ha Ecotourism Project staff held five community based tourism awarenes seminars and a study tour in Muang Sing.

The main topics covered were:

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Who are international tourists, and why do they come to LNT Province

The importance of preserving traditional life-ways and the environment

Community income generating possibilities from tourism

Dangers associated with tourists using opium in villages

How to mitigate cultural misunderstandings

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The seminars in Luang Namtha included 9 villages, attended by a total of 135 people. The study tour to Muang Sing visited two villages heavily impacted by tourism and was attended by 12 villagers from six villages in Luang Namtha.

 

Local Guide Training

Local guides are an essential component of community-based ecotourism. From September 2000 to April 2001 twenty-five local guides have completed their training in Luang Namtha and received certificates. Eight villages guides from villages located along the main trekking route were certified in March 2001.
The guides were trained not only in guiding techniques, but in:

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English language

Basic First-Aid

Cultural and nature interpretation

Environmental sensitivity

Hospitality management

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Because this is the first-ever eco-guide training in Laos, the project team is compiling an eco-guide training manual in English and Lao in order that training can be replicated in other regions of Laos.

 

 

English Language Instruction

Since January 2000 over 80 local participants from Luang Namtha’s have received intensive English language instruction. The training focused on enhancing their ability to communicate with international tourists. Participants included owners and employees from local guesthouses and restaurants, Provincial Tourism Officers, Border and Airport Police and other Luang Namtha authorities.

 

 

Hospitality Management Training

During July 2000, eight participants from the Luang Namtha Tourism Industry attended Novotel Vientiane's Hospitality Training. Training covered:

  • Housekeeping
  • Food Preparation
  • Guest Reception

 

During March 2000, twenty-eight participants from 11 guesthouse and restaurants attended the NTA/Nam Ha Ecotourism Project’s Hospitality Management Training In Muang Sing. Training included:

  • Housekeeping and Hygiene
  • Front Office Operations
  • Food and Beverage Service
  • Drug Prevention

Additional Training

June 17 - 27, 2000: National Project Coordinator attended the Where There be Dragons’ Outdoor Leadership Course in Sequoia National Forest, California USA. Course content included:

  • Wilderness first aid instruction and certification as Wilderness First Responder
  • Experiential education and environmental interpretation techniques
  • Backcountry food preparation and hygiene

Study Tour to Luang Prabang with Local Village Leaders

In an effort to broaden local leaders understanding of the tourism industry and show them what international tourists prefer in regard to quality handicrafts, the Nam Ha Ecotourism Project staff conducted a study tour to Luang Prabang with six participants and two NHEP staff from 23 - 26 August 2000.

Transportation & Tourism Seminar

Because transportation is such a vital link in the tourism infrastructure, the NHEP conducted a tourism awareness seminar targeting local drivers. The seminar focused on safety, drug prevention, pricing, service, potential problems, and strategies to mitigate misunderstandings between locals and international tourists.