Wildlife Ecotourism & Community Engagement in Conservation
Ecotourism activities at Nam Et-Phou Louey (NEPL) National Protected Area (NPA) have been developed to provide an additional livelihood opportunity for local people surrounding the Protected Area. All tours have been designed to create a direct link between conservation and tourism so that the money that visitors pay has a positive impact on encouraging local people to protect endangered wildlife. This is achieved through active community involvement, and the creation of conservation linked financial incentive mechanisms.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has been supporting the NEPL Management Unit since 2003, and has assisted with the development of ecotourism products commencing in 2009. During this time significant experience has been gained on how to implement ecotourism in the Laos NPA context, and how to ensure effective operations and meaningful community engagement. Currently 26 villages (more than 2000 households) are participating in ecotourism with 4 villages being directly engaged to provide services for tours. The primary aims of the tourism model are to:
- Create additional income for local people – linked to conservation
- Generate sustainable financing for protected area management
- Increase awareness among local people and visitors about the importance of wildlife conservation
Opened in 2009, the Night Safari is a 24-hour boat-based tour into the core of the protected area. The trip involves night-time wildlife spotlighting: long-tail boats drift down the river looking for wild and endangered animals as Sambar Dear, Muntjacs, Civets etc. Additional activities on the tour include ranger substation visit, and short morning hike to learn about historical patrimony of this area and medical plans. Visitors stay overnight in Lao bungalows. View detailed Night Safari itinerary.
The 2 to 5 days trekking tours offer an opportunity to track wild animals such as wild cats, bears and dhole using camera traps that are set up along the trail and maintained by visitors. The critically endangered Northern White cheeked Gibbons can be heard in the early mornings. And the longest 5 days trek goes up to the summit of Phou Louey (Elev.2257m) – the 3rd highest peak in Laos and one of the few cloud forests in the region. Overnight in jungle huts and/or spherical baskets hanging from the trees – ‘The Nests’ inside NEPL.View trekking itineraries.
Download the Ecotourism Brochure and read the itineraries offline -> NEPL NPA Ecotourism brochure
Ecotourism Model Brief
2017 Ecotourism Model document. English & Lao language.
This brief outlines the ecotourism model implemented at the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area (NEPL NPA) in Houaphan Province, Lao PDR (Laos). The ecotourism products at NEPL NPA have been designed to create a direct link between conservation and tourism so that the money that tourists pay has a positive impact on encouraging local people to protect endangered wildlife. This is achieved through both direct employment of local people in service provider groups, and through incentives that provides benefits to a larger number of villages linked to wildlife conservation.
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