|Progress Toward Outcome
For Lao PDR, the project is substantially complete and the outcome has been achieved. The project closing date has been extended to 31 December 2014 and the loan account closing is being processed.
For Viet Nam, the project is also substantially complete and the outcome has been achieved. The project closing date has been extended to 31 December 2014 and the loan account was closed on 15 June 2015.
The project is categorized as Effective Gender Mainstreaming. A Gender Action Plan (GAP) has been prepared to ensure that women and ethnic minorities benefit equally from it. Implementation of the GAP was reviewed in October 2011 (Lao PDR) and March 2013 (Viet Nam). The project was found to be on track in terms of participation rates for women and ethnic groups (about 41 - 54%). At some sites, men and women are already obtaining significant income equivalent to $5 - $50 per day per household from providing home stay accommodation and selling food, pottery, textiles, paper products, and other handicrafts to tourists.
|Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Output 1: Sustainable tourism development that protects the environment and cultural heritage.
For Lao PDR the tourism master plan prepared for Siphandone Wetlands guided complementary investments in infrastructure, tourism-related skills training, and activities to improve environmental management. Civil works for (i) Nakasang Access Road Improvements, (ii) Nakasang Tourist Information Center and Market, and (iii) Don Det-Don Khone Track Improvements and Tourism Infrastructure are complete and being used. Project initiatives have contributed to a sharp increase in tourist arrivals which is having a positive impact on local job creation. There are 47 permanent vendors occupying Nakasang Market's main block and approximately 150 additional vendors selling at the new fresh market behind it. Typical daily revenue per vendor ranges from about $20 to several hundred dollars. Owing to drainage and sidewalk improvements, 24 vendors have set up new roadside kiosks near the Nakasang river pier where 218 tourist boats operate. Civil works in Vang Vieng are also complete. Approximately 700 meters of main storm drains and 1,662 meters of side drains have been improved. Stormwater in the southern part of town is now channeled through a natural filter before it discharges into the Nam Xong River. Sidewalks with lighting have been extended by 2,984m. The project has installed 22 septic tanks for use by residences and enterprises situated along the river and supplied a new garbage truck to help Vang Vieng Urban Management Authority provide more reliable collection services to 11,910 residents (2,127 households). Project assistance to support preparation of an updated town master plan for Vang Vieng, construction of public amenities, and marketing and promotion have contributed to a substantial increase in tourist arrivals, accommodation establishments and employment. In Viet Nam, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. Development of the new nature circuit is complete at all planned sites. Support for training, capacity building, and equipment has helped improve tourism management in the park and expanded tourism-related livelihood opportunities for local residents. Annual visitor arrivals have increased from a baseline of 311,377 to 442,637 in 2012 (42%); daily spending by international tourists has risen by 72% to $70 per day; and the number of people directly employed by tourism has increased 37% to 457. More than half of tourism workers at all project sites are women. The Bac Kan Tourism Information and Cultural Exchange Center Bac is complete and open to visitors since Q4 2014. The center and adjacent boat landing serve as the main staging point and service area for visitors before entering the park via a shuttle bus or boat. This will help to reduce congestion inside the park and generate additional jobs and income for local tourist-boat operators and tour guides. The project has also provided training, equipment and other support to help local entrepreneurs improve service quality and expand village-based enterprises. These activities complement assistance provided by other development partners and are consistent with the Ba Bae Lake National Park Management Plan. Since project inception annual visitor arrivals have increased from a baseline of 50,000 to 92,560 in 2012 (85%); daily spending by international tourists has risen by 32% to $33 per day; and the number of people directly employed by tourism has increased 52% to 192.
Output 2: Pro-poor community-based tourism (CBT) and supply-chain tourism demonstration projects are operational.
In Lao PDR assistance to establish tourism-related supply chain demonstration projects and develop community-operated tourist sites has been successful. For example, in 2012 the Ban Yor weaving and pottery production group (44 members, 79% women) generated approximately $19,600 in revenue. Similarly, 27 members (70% women) of the Pachao Singkham Temple community-managed tourist site earned $9,300 in 2012. Participation in the pilot subproject to promote organic vegetable farming in Oudomxay has increased from 3 to 33 families and members currently produce 6,000 kilograms of organic vegetables per-month with an estimated turnover of $3,750. In comparison, the various CBT programs (mainly trekking and homestay) supported by the project have been less successful. This is attributed to less demand than anticipated and the need for more involvement of tour operators in product development and marketing. The project has provided assistance to 15 community-operated tourist sites, 17 tourism-related supply chain demonstration projects, and 20 CBT tour products.
In Viet Nam the project has expanded CBT support to seven villages. Progress is satisfactory in regard to the development of community-based tourism (CBT) attractions and work on promoting tourism-related supply chains is progressing. Areas of assistance found most useful by village-based beneficiaries include support for infrastructure, equipment, and training. The most successful CBT site is Pac Ngoi Village in Bac Kan Province, which in 2012 received 11,500 visitors and generated approximately $300,000 for 53 entrepreneurs/tourism workers. Benefits at other sites are more modest but steadily increasing as they become better known by tour operators and independent tourists.
Output 3: GMS transportation corridors are developed into subregional tourism corridors
Strategies to encourage tourists to stay longer and spend more along the North-South (NSEC) and East-West Economic Corridors (EWEC) are being implemented and planned small tourism-related facilities were recently completed in Lao PDR Among project sites that are operating, the Luang Namtha Night Market is most successful. It generated about $460,000 in revenue for 63 permanent vendors in 2011. Lao Bao Visitor Information Center is complete and open. The 2,000m2 multipurpose facility includes a tourist information center for the East-West Corridor (EWEC); new immigration terminal; and streamlined services for entry and exit of tourist vehicles to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of visitors passing through Lao Bao Border Gate. The main types of training and capacity building activities implemented under output 3 include tourism awareness seminars; hotel and guesthouse management training; awareness seminars on prevention of HIV/AIDS and other potential negative impacts of tourism; and support for local authorities and tourism associations to participate in regional meetings on tourism development in the EWEC.
Output 4: Human resource capacity of public and private tourism stakeholders is improved. (Lao PDR) About 300 trainers have been trained in small-scale hospitality management and tourism planning and management. Other key accomplishments include development of Lao PDR's tourism web-based knowledge center (www.stdplaos.com) establishment of a tourism educator's network, and publication of 21 Lao language textbooks and manuals. In Viet Nam, a comprehensive train-the-trainers program targeting public tourism officials and small-scale tourism and hospitality operators began in December 2011. The target of training 60 small-scale tourism and hospitality master trainers and 240 sustainable tourism planning and management master trainers from the public sector has been exceeded. Master trainers produced several training manuals and provided cascade training for 800 tourism managers and operators of tourism-related enterprises (53% women). Tourism workers employed by guesthouses, souvenir shops, restaurants, and tour companies were the main recipients of this training.