Track 3 – Experiences: Food Tourism (3A) & Eco- and Wildlife Tourism (3B)
Track 3: Experience Development
The 2015-2020 GMS Tourism Marketing Strategy shifted from “Explore Mekong” to “Experience Mekong”. The global traveller today is looking for experiences, such as interacting with communities, tasting local dishes, learning about heritage and culture, and exploring landscapes. Providing such experiences is becoming essential to competing in the global tourism landscape.
Session 3A: Food Tourism
Food has always been central to the travel experience, offering not only interesting new flavours but also insights into the customs and traditions of a place. In recent years food tourism has grown considerably and become one of the most dynamic and creative segments. And there is a growing number of travellers for whom food is the primary reason for travel. This session will debate the opportunities and challenges facing the GMS as a food tourism destination, including experience development, sourcing, hygiene, waste, and safety.
Le Calao Restaurant – A new restaurant by the people behind Luang Prabang’s acclaimed l’Elephant French restaurant among other popular eateries, Le Calao is located on the picturesque Khem Khong Road overlooking the mighty Mekong River. Differentiating Le Calao will be its focus on authentic Lao cuisine. The restaurant resides in a mansion built by a Portuguese merchant in 1904, which then became the six-room Le Calao Inn. Learn more about culinary tourism in this newly repurposed heritage building. Website: N/A
Session 3B: Ecotourism & Wildlife
Wildlife tourism and ecotourism are arguably the fastest growing sectors of tourism. However, as demand increases and profits rule, some wilderness areas are in retreat or being quickly degraded due to inappropriate tourism. And almost no money finds its way back into conservation. Nor are communities living in the vicinity of wildlife habitats getting much more than menial jobs in exchange for sharing lands and resources that once sustained their families with dignity. This session explores how ecotourism and wildlife tourism can introduce visitors to wild and remote destinations in a way that is neither intrusive to traditional ways of life nor destructive to the environment.
Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden – Pha Tad Ke is the first botanical garden in Laos. It is created to be a regional research centre into plant reintroduction, horticulture, ethnobotany and medicinal plants to address critical problems ranging from local natural resource management to conserving biodiversity. Employing local villagers, the property also provides visitors with a range of experiences including garden tours and eco-treks. Enjoy the boat ride to and from Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden as well as the Forum session overlooking a lotus pond.