WHAT IS AN ECOLODGE?

An ecolodge is a small hotel or guesthouse that incorporates local architectural, cultural and natural characteristics, promotes environmental conservation, and produces social and economic benefits for local communities.

GUIDELINES FOR ECOLODGES IN LAOS

Use Lao architecture and building materials This means that you must build the lodge to look like a traditional home or house. Construction materials should be local, such as bamboo, rattan, wood, locally made bricks or stone. This is actually the cheapest and most common way to build a house in Laos, so most carpenters know very well how to do it in this fashion.

Minimise the use of energy This means avoiding air conditioning and other electric devices that use too much electricity. You should install solar energy to meet some power needs, such as lighting and hot water.

Use local products and minimise the use of chemicals in daily operations This means that you should use local food products (not canned imported products), locally produced bed sheets, table cloths and other items in your lodge. You should not buy chemical bug sprays, poisons or toxic cleaning fluids when there is a suitable substitute. Install screens to keep out the bugs, use non-toxic rat poison (or have housecats) and use simple soap and water for cleaning. All of these ideas will save money and the environment.

Minimise and manage your waste This means not using things that make a lot of waste, such as disposable water bottles, canned foods, or foods wrapped in plastic. This also means to recycle and reuse items when possible, especially glass and plastic.



Minimise negative impacts on nearby villages You should provide information to tourists on cultural do’s and don’ts. You should also speak with local villagers regularly to learn how you can help them and to learn if there are any problems created by tourists that stay at your lodge.

Employ local people and support their community Your lodge should give work opportunities to nearby villagers. You may also support the community by helping with activities at a nearby school.




Support conservation of nature You can do this by giving information to your guests about nature tourism in your area. You can also help by not selling wildlife products and by supporting the conservation activities in a protected area nearby. Another simple way is to protect the trees around your lodge and prohibit hunting on your property.



5 DESIGNING AND BUILDING AN ECOLODGE IN THE LAO PDR SUGGESTIONS FOR LOCAL INVESTORS

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