- Technology

Lasting certification introduced to businesses in Laos’ tourism industry

SUSTOUR Laos Project in partnership with the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Provincial Chambers of Commerce and Industry, organised three business engagement events from Feb 27 to Mar 2 in Luang Prabang, Vientiane Province and Vientiane.

These events introduced local tourism businesses to the Lasting Laos certification, providing businesses with information and resources to begin the certification process.

“The supplier businesses will get to know Lasting Laos standards and benefits that they will gain after being awarded the Lasting Laos Certification.

The benefits will include reputation, being competitive suppliers and increasing income,” said Ms Veomany Douangdala, Vice President of the Luang Provincial Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Lasting Laos certification is a local sustainability programme for supplier businesses in the tourism industry that have demonstrated sustainable environmental, social and economic practices.

Training, coaching and assessments of businesses will be administered locally by the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with support from the SUSTOUR Laos Project: Supporting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in the Lao Tourism Industry Supply Chain to Access Markets for Sustainable Practices Project.

The goal of this certification is to improve the overall sustainability of the tourism supply chain by providing benchmarks and guidance for local businesses to measure and improve their sustainability. The certification is provided free of charge.

Mr. Khounphithak Ratrisavath, Founder of Sansin Association – Lao traditional textile and handicraft, joined the Lasting Laos Engagement event and found out this certification allows him to explore sustainable business management and markets. “Lasting Laos certification is exciting and critical for my business. I believe my business can be part of a sustainable supply chain of the tourism industry,” said the owner.

Lasting Laos is adapted from the Travelife sustainability certification, which is recognised internationally as the leading certification in the tourism industry, and is based on a set of sustainability criteria that have been developed for four key tourism industry sectors. Waste management is also a priority cross-cutting issue across all sectors. These criteria have been developed in consultation with over 200 stakeholders from the private and public sectors.

“Over the last year, we at Plan International Laos have worked closely with our project partners to develop Lasting Laos, the first local sustainability certification for tourism businesses in Laos. It has been developed with input from over 200 Lao tourism stakeholders from the private and public sectors, as well as international experts from Travelife. We expect this programme to encourage and support local tourism businesses to improve their sustainability,” stated Connor Bedard, SUSTOUR Laos Project Manager.

Businesses must demonstrate compliance with the sustainability criteria in order to become a Lasting Laos certified business. They can report their compliance with the checklists online via the Travelife online platform or through hardcopy checklists. All businesses will be supported by the SUSTOUR project with free training and follow-up coaching.

The Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry will conduct assessments to verify compliance with the criteria, with technical support provided by the SUSTOUR Project. Businesses that comply with the checklists will be awarded and recognised as leading sustainable suppliers in the tourism industry supply chain.

“We provided training to our local trainers, and these trainers closely coach interested supplier businesses to ensure their operations and services are aligned with the Lasting Laos Criteria before we give them certification. Within this year, we expect to certify around 80 supplier businesses across four key tourism industry sectors in three provinces,” said Ms Souphaphone Khamsennam, Vice Secretary of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Source: Lao News Agency