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Tourism can be a powerful force for good – it creates jobs, breaks down barriers and stereotypes and stimulates social change. But if not properly managed, tourism can also leave detrimental impacts on the local destination’s natural and social ecosystems.
From hiring local Lao staff to using a local supply chain to promoting limited impact eco-tourism activities, we put Responsible Tourism into practice by adopting business practices molded around a triple bottom line: social, environmental and economic.
Fair Trek develops tourism activities in line with the principles defined by the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism:
- Minimize negative economic, environmental, and social impacts.
- Generate greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry.
- Involve local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chance.
- Make positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world’s diversity.
- Provide more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues.
- Be culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.
Our tourist code of conduct guidelines, based on the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, explain how you can be a Responsible Traveler in Laos.
- Respect local customs. Observe how locals behave and take cues from your tour guide on what’s appropriate. Remember, you are a guest in someone else’s home. Here is more info on cultural Dos and Don’ts in Laos.
- Be mindful of Laos’ conservative culture. Dress conservatively – tank tops and bikinis are not appropriate attire to wear in villages or in town. Avoid overt public displays of affection and foul language.
- Respect local people when taking their photographs, especially of children. Generally, locals are happy to be in your photos if you respect their space. If possible, ask permission first. Don’t follow people around and try to avoid snapping photos of them doing personal things like bathing. Show the photo to them after you’ve taken it.
- Protect the environment and respect cultural resources. Be mindful of where you walk to avoid disturbing the natural ecosystem – stay on trekking paths or in designated areas. Help preserve Laos’ centuries-old architecture and archeological treasures by avoiding climbing on or touching them.
- Purchase local handicrafts and products to support the local economy. Plus, they make unique souvenirs! We don’t discourage bargaining but urge you to remember that a person’s livelihood depends on your purchase.
- Do not engage in child sex exploitation, or exploitation of any kind. Respect human rights in Laos just as you would at home.
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