Travel Professor – Rural Tourism Development in Lao

In this video I look at three quite different examples of rural tourism, all in Lao. In academic circles, there’s some debate as to what is ‘rural’? Without going into a long debate, I consider rural tourism as tourism which occurs on the periphery and is dependent on rural activity or rural economic activity This includes, but is not limited to, agritourism, farm tourism and other alternative types of tourism. The three examples I look at are: a vocational training center for women who produced woven handicrafts, a riverboat cruise and a coffee museum. Alright, the travel professor is here in Lao. So here we have a rural tourism enterprise. The village is called Houey Hong and this is where tourists can actually come and learn how to do the Lao silk making and we will see that a little bit later but we have the lady showing on the loom and dyeing the..dyeing the silk all different natural colors so it’s a great rural tourism enterprise. Here I am pretending to make the silk on the loom. This one, I’m making, is going to be beautiful Every tourist will want it. It is seven kilometers from the center of town towards the National University. The center itself is made up of eight compounds including an office and shop conference room, 2 tailoring rooms, 2 weaving rooms, a dyeing and stock area, a dormitory and cooking facilities. The three main objectives of the center are: 1 To provide training for various skill levels in weaving, dyeing tailoring for women in rural areas who are disadvantaged, poor and / or have a disability. 2. To revive and support Lao’s traditional crafts such as natural dyeing and traditional weaving and 3. To introduce other suitable skills such as tailoring to women who have little education. One of the issues about developing rural tourism is how to keep it going. This facility, this enterprise was started or helped with the assistance of JICA, the Japanese development organization and so once it’s going these organizations, these small organizations, community-based have to find a way to be self-sufficient. The other problem is how do people know about it, getting the distribution around as beautiful Lao clothing has to compete on other international markets with Cambodian goods, with Thai also. Thailand goods of the same type. A second form of rural tourism development is a river cruise Here, on a tributary of the Mekong River, cruises are offered where we can take in the scenery of rural Lao life, have a meal and sing a bit of karaoke, if you like that sort of thing. Here are some fish farms on the river. At Sinouk coffee, they started with coffee production and then developed their operation for tourism. Agritourism, also known as farm tourism, has been undertaken by farmers as a sort of diversification. Diversification is predominantly seen as a way to generate additional income and therefore achieve longer-term longevity of farming. Sinouk coffee has a great visitor display, explaining about the coffee plantation, the production, a nice cafe and a tasting room. Delicious. All very tasty.

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