Lanith (Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality) topped nearly 200 entrants from more than 50 countries to reach the finals for the coveted 10th World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow’s People Award 2014. WTTC recognises sustainable tourism best practices in worldwide businesses and destinations.
More than 20 independent expert judges from around the world, chaired by Costas Christ, an internationally recognised authority on sustainable tourism, selected Lanith as one of three finalists, as the Lao institute best demonstrates the “delivery of social and economic benefits to local people, and engagement in environmentally friendly operations,” according to WTTC. It added that People Award finalists are dedicated to developing capacity building, training, and education to build a skilled tourism workforce for the future.
“Achieving placement in the finals for this prestigious award is a win in itself,” said Mr. Peter Semone, Chief of Lanith. “Taking the top prize would be a real boost to the efforts of Lanith and Laos to nurture sustainable tourism in this country.”
WTTC chose Lanith as a finalist based on its two main pillars: the two-year Lanith Diploma in tourism and hospitality education and the Pacific Asia Tourism Association (PATA) Grand Award-winning Passport to Success (PtS) skills training programme.
The Lanith Diploma, which launched its pilot courses in 2012, currently has 60 fulltime students enrolled in its education certificate programme at its new Vientiane campus. The curriculum was formally accredited by the MoES in 2013, becoming the first degree of its kind in Laos. Lanith has since become a fully-fledged MoES department.
The PtS training programme reaches out to those already working in the industry. Launched in 2011, it is now the biggest industry training programme in Laos, offering three-to-four-day hands-on modules in areas such as customer service, kitchen management, and food production. Successful participants earn bronze, silver, and gold awards, and those who successfully complete the requisite number of modules are granted “Recognition of Achievement” awards.
Each PtS participant receives a “Passport to Success” booklet in which Lanith plots their progress. Lanith has also initiated a “Go for Gold” fast-track programme, in which participants enter an intense, three-month PtS course to achieve gold awards. Nearly 1,000 hospitality and tourism staff has participated in one or more PtS modules and holds a PtS booklet.
In 2013, Lanith opened a hospitality complex/training centre, with The Balcony Bar and Restaurant at its core, and saddled by four guest rooms, a training kitchen, and a meeting room. “Lanith Luang Prabang” has two main functions: to train people in hospitality and tourism using the PtS programme and to operate as a social enterprise generating revenue that can be directly reinvested into these facilities.
David Scowsill, WTTC President and CEO said, “For 10 years, WTTC has led the sustainability debate within travel and tourism through our Tourism for Tomorrow Awards…I would like to congratulate all our finalists who are flying the flag for the best in sustainable practices globally.”
Chairman of Judges Mr Christ added, “Each year, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognise sustainable tourism best practices in action, helping to transform the travel and tourism industry based upon the principles of environmentally friendly operations, support for the protection of cultural and natural heritage, and direct benefits to the social and economic well-being of local people in travel destinations around the world.”
Unique among global sustainable tourism awards, the second phase of judging includes an on-site evaluation of each finalist, which is carried out by international sustainable tourism experts who make in-depth, firsthand assessments of the organisations and businesses.
Winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards will be announced during the WTTC’s Global Summit, which will take place on 23-25 April 2014 in Sanya, Hainan Province in China.