Laos vacation, cultural tour

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This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Laos vacation, cultural tour

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

Our local Laos agent has been operating socially and environmentally responsible trips to the country for many years and has a wealth of experience and expertise in the region. They have a strong responsible travel ethos and a realisation that tourism can change local lives for better and for worse. With this in mind our agents have established a responsible travel ethos creating authentic travel experiences which mutually benefit locals and visitors.

The Free the Bears Fund (FTB) is an Australian, not-for-profit organisation established with the sole purpose of helping to protect, preserve and enrich the lives of bears. In Laos, FTB works with the Luang Prabang Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office and the Provincial Tourism Office to create a safe home for rescued bears that were illegally captured from the wild as young cubs. They are also lobbying against bear bile farms which are still legal in Laos. Visitors to Laos can visit the FTB education center and the bear sanctuary while also visiting the Kuang Si Waterfalls.

The Vat Phou Cruise aims to support the local communities they visit and pass through and to minimise their impact on the region. In order to achieve this they offer meals to the temples in the area as alms for the monks and on the village stops the cruise donates and encourages guests to donate towards the purchase of books and stationery for the local school. All food scraps are donated to local villagers as feed for their livestock and the onboard chefs buy produce from the local communities. All recyclable materials – cans, bottles, plastic – are recycled.

Community

Our ground agents support many local charities in Laos including the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) in Luang Prabang which is visited on this trip. The center is dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of the traditional arts and lifestyles of the country’s many and diverse ethnic groups to help safeguard the regions heritage for future generations. The center has a permanent collection of ethnic artifacts from 30 ethnic groups and offers a fair-trade scheme for local artisans: on average 50% of the fair-trade shop income goes directly to the artists and provides over 500 families from ethnic groups in 12 separate provinces with an extra income.
Other charities financially supported in Laos by our local agents include MAG, the Mines Advisory Group. Laos has the unenviable record of being the most bombed country in the world per capita with at least 30% of bombs dropped remaining unexploded and thus still a huge threat to the lives of local people. MAG works hard to clear land of unexploded ordnance making it safe for use and opening it up to residents as farming land.

Alongside MAG, our local agents also support COPE, the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise located in Vientiane. This is a locally run, not-for-profit organisation founded to help victims of unexploded ordnance with rehabilitation and the provision of orthotic and prosthetic devices.

Fair salaries are paid to all employees and regular training is provided to support future career development. Only local guides who are aware of local customs and cultures are employed which not only keeps the funds paid to staff within the local community but also helps avoid any potential cultural clashes between visitors and locals. All guides are also required to sign an agreement with our ground agents agreeing not to take visitors in their charge to unplanned sites such as schools, orphanages etc or to ask for donations or tips. Guides are required to turn off vehicles when idling to minimise unnecessary emissions and where possible, eco-friendly modes of transport are opted for such as their collection of electric bikes used for Luang Prabang city tours.

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