Mekong guide book pushes responsible tourism

The fast growing tourism destinations of Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam will publish a 140-page guide book about responsible tourism attractions and activities in their countries. Up to 30 activities, attractions or outlets in each country will be profiled in one publication to drive tourism business towards activities that:-

minimise negative tourism impacts create income for local people involve local people in running the
business conserve natural and cultural heritage provide meaningful experiences for
tourists help local people and visitors with physical disabilities build respect between visitors and hosts                    
               
               
                Approximately 90 activities that meet the majority of these criteria will be profiled, including guides and tours, accommodation, restaurants, handicraft outlets, development projects and volunteer opportunities. The responsible tourism guide book will make it easier for tourists to join activities such as trekking responsibly with hilltribes, buying handicrafts made by people with disabilities and positively engaging with school children, villagers and local people at village level.

“Throughout the Mekong subregion, tourism is growing quickly,” said Alfredo Perdiguero senior economist at the Asian Development Bank, which is supporting the initiative through its Mekong Tourism Development Project. “Our aim now is to channel that growth more equitably towards sustainable and responsible tourism operators
that help us conserve culture and at the same time fight poverty.”

               
Mr Perdiguero said that millions of people in the subregion
still live on less than one US dollar a day.

Statistics from the Pacific Asia Travel Association issued this month show that international tourism visitor arrivals year to date are growing at a rate of over 22% into Cambodia, 14% into Vietnam and 20% into Lao PDR.

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The responsible tourism guide to the three Mekong region destinations is being financed by the Lao National Tourism Administration (LNTA), the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, and the Ministry of Tourism in Cambodia. Funds for the writing, design and printing of the book have been made available to the three countries by the Asian Development Bank through its Mekong Tourism Development Project.

The colour guide book will contain full contact and booking information for the recommended activities. The book, which is being written by Mekong subregion experts Guy Marris, Nick Ray and Bernie Rosenbloom, will be available before the end of the year.
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