Helping businesses become certifiably sustainable
The SUSTOUR Laos project is funded by the European Union and implemented by Plan International Laos in cooperation with the Department of Trade Promotion of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC), the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), and the European Centre for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism (ECEAT). The project is implemented in 11 districts across Luang Prabang Province, Vientiane Province, and Vientiane Capital and running until mid-2024. The project aims to improve the sustainability of the Lao tourism industry by integrating MSMEs into tourism industry supply chains through the promotion and certification of sustainable consumption and production practices of local MSMEs by awarding businesses with Travelife and Lasting Laos certification.
After the pandemic, the tourism sector begins to revive, which has significantly increased the income of the local communities. While tourism is one of the largest economic sectors in the world and generates a lot of jobs, it also accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Post-Covid 19 has provided us with a chance to begin making new improvements and shift to more sustainable tourism. At the same time, there is a growing need for sustainability in tourism across the world. Many consumers and travelers expect businesses to operate the businesses responsibly. Therefore, Lasting Laos certification will play an essential role to support businesses to enhance their sustainability.
Lasting Laos certification
Lasting Laos is a sustainability certification adapted from the Travelife sustainability certification with the aim to support local tourism businesses to improve their sustainability. The certification has been developed as part of the SUSTOUR Laos project (funded by the European Union) and administered by the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Eligible businesses include businesses in four key sectors of the Lao tourism industry: (1) Transportation; (2) Food & Beverage; (3) Handicrafts & Souvenirs; and (4) Cultural Excursions.
The benefits of the certification
The certification program will enable businesses to improve the sustainability of their operations and supply chain. Through locally adapted sustainability criteria and guidance, based on international best practices from Travelife, businesses can measure and improve their sustainability. The SUSTOUR Project will provide the business with the training and coaching needed in order to help them achieve the certification. Other benefits of becoming a certified sustainable business include:
- Access to new markets and customers which prioritize sustainability, including Travelife-certified businesses in Laos (accommodations, travel agents, and tour operators) and tourists.
- The businesses can be listed in a supplier database on the Travelife website accessible to Travelife-certified businesses in Laos and around the world.
- Receive recognition and promotion of the business through online and offline marketing, award ceremonies, and other promotional activities supported by the SUSTOUR project.
- Realize cost savings through sustainable practices in energy, water, and waste management.
Eligible businesses include micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the transportation, food & beverage, cultural excursions, and handicraft & souvenir sectors. The businesses must be located in a SUSTOUR project area: Vientiane Capital, Vientiane Province, and Luang Prabang Province.
During the lifetime of the SUSTOUR Laos project (until July 2024), there will be no cost for businesses to attain the certification. The certification is valid for a period of 2 years. In order to maintain the certification status, the businesses must pass an assessment every 2 years.
Where to start?
The Lasting Laos certification process is comprised of training, and coaching which will support the business to be fully compliant with the criteria until receiving the certification. These steps are:
1. Start off by engaging the business by applying online through https://bit.ly/LLapplicationform or scan the QR code or through hardcopy which can be requested at the local chamber of commerce and industry office.
2. After submitting the application, the businesses to schedule an optional online or in-person introductory training on Lasting Laos criteria with LNCCI, supported by the SUSTOUR Project.
3. Apart from the introductory training, the business can request one-on-one coaching which is also provided as needed. A coach will be assigned to the businesses and available throughout the certification process.
4. The business completes the internal reporting process and prepares relevant supporting documents to demonstrate compliance with the sustainability criteria.
5. Once the business is ready, submit a request to have an assessment which will be conducted by a trained assessor from LNCCI who will conduct the assessment on-site.
6. After the business can demonstrate 100% compliance with the mandatory sustainability criteria, the business will be awarded. If not, the businesses will be given time, with ongoing support from LNCCI and SUSTOUR project, to be 100% compliant with the criteria.
Lasting Laos Application Form
SUSTOUR Laos Project Office (LNCCI building) Kaysone Phomvihane Ave, Phonphanao Village, Saysetha District, Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR P.O. Box: 4596
Text & PHOTOGRAPHS BY The SUSTOUR Laos Project / Plan International Laos