Lao PDR begins planning for Protected Area Ecotourism project

Champasak, Lao PDR – Key stakeholders of the planned Phou Xieng Thong National Protected Area (PXT-NPA) Ecotourism Project participated in the workshop to review the strategy and action plan of the project this 10 February 2023 at the Phon-Ngam Training Center, Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO) in Champasak province, Lao PDR. 

The five-year strategy, set to be implemented from 2023 to 2027, proposes prioritising tourism development activities in four areas of the NPA, namely, Ban Mai Singsamphan-Soula-Kham Teu, Phou Dao Chaeng, 4000 Holes, and Khongsedone district. The workshop discussion focused on the following key issues: priority areas, zoning and approval for opening areas for tourism, sustainable and conservation incentives, and investment priorities. 

The workshop was held through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP), a project of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity,  supported by the European Union. 

Local stakeholders — composed of park rangers and stakeholders at the village, district, and provincial levels — raise their concerns about and give their inputs to the draft PXT-NPA Ecotourism Plan 2023–2027. 

Phou Xieng Thong National Protected Area is best known for its interesting rock formations, many of which have cultural and religious values, including Hin Khong and the 4000 Holes. The landscape and views from the park’s many plateaus include the pristine forested Mekong River landscape, which passes through Phou Xieng Thong on the Lao side and Pha Taem on the Thai side; and has potential for kayaking and boating trips. The park’s iconic wildlife also holds tourism potential, with gibbons, Douc langurs, banteng, gaur, and green peafowl topping the list of species of high potential interest to visitors. Photos by the Phou Xieng Thong National Protected Area Management Office.