Last month, Buffalo Educational Travel team in Laos facilitated a learning journey for the leaders of Seuang River Community Programme.

From the 19 to 21 July, twenty-five community representatives, and our very own Chipseng Thor, visited community-based tourism projects Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. This was a great opportunity to exchange and explore; to build skills to improve sustainable tourism in our local communities.

The main objectives of the learning journey were to improve:

  • Village Stay (clean, secure, welcoming and friendly)
  • Meal service (clean, high quality and organic)
  • Community management (product, equity of benefits and future)

The group included representatives of local government and communities, including:

  • Pakxeng District Governor
  • Pakxeng Tourism Director
  • Seuang River Committee Chair & Vice Chair
  • Head cooks
  • Ban Napho Village Stay representatives
  • Ban Pakkeng Village Stay representatives
  • Ban Vang Ngern Village Stay representatives
  • Ban Buam Phaxeng Village Stay representatives

Throughout the three days of learning all participants were very excited. For many it was their first time away from Seuang River to exchange experiences as they learned from another communities, organic farms and restaurants.

The learning journey cost approximately USD 2,500. All this budget was paid by the community from funds saved from the running of the educational tourism activities with Buffalo Tours. Community leaders were happy to make such an investment as they want to develop their knowledge and skills to better manage the student groups Buffalo provides.

Main highlights of the learning journey included exchange of experience with the successful Ban Naduang Community Homestay Project, which has achieved the ASEAN Homestay Standard (clean, separate rooms, bed sheets, blankets, pillows, mosquito nets, fan, living room, bathroom, toilet, hot water shower, foods, welcoming and community service).

Another highlight was a visit to an organic farm to learn from people passionate about preserving our land, fruit trees, animals and food without use of chemicals. The group also visited Luang Prabang Night Market to see all the products tourist buy and Namtip Restaurant they learn how to improve food hygiene, quality and overall meal experience.

The learning journey was a great success, sparking many new ideas and enthusiasm. BET are proud of the initiative of empowered community leaders taking action to learn and grow.