Community-based-tourism in Nam Ha Village was initiated in 2010. It was developed in a response to a need to preserve the environment, cultures, and as an alternative source of income for the ethnic minority villagers. As poverty is still a main problem in that area, there is a big need and demand to generate jobs and income for villagers, in order to prevent them from their ancestral use of the forests, which is now considered, by law, illegal forest encroachment.
That is the main reason why the village chief tries to contact Luang Namtha Tourism and private sector “Tour Operator”, in order to establish a Community-Based-Tourism. Between 2010 and 2011 they have been organizing trekking programs and offer only guide. But the income for a native guide was but a meagre 8 USD/day.
In the beginning of 2012, the village chief negotiated with the Luang Namtha Tourism and tour operator about the revenue for his village; i.e. how to generate more income? So, we agreed to set up a homestay infrastructure and a plan for other tourism activities such as: a group of husking rice, a black smith showing his art, a little workshop/crash course of weaving bamboo baskets, the opportunity to make toys, gadgets, utensils out of bamboo, and to top it off end the evening of the homestay with a sacred Khmu traditional Baci-ceremony, a sword dance, a short trek through rain forest, and for the pro-active travelers may to engage them in the day-to-day workload of the family.
To date, two lodges are up and all to what a traveller might hope for in a homestay, there are nineteen families who take part in the organizing of the Baci-ceremony, sword dance, and also a flute recital. Six families take care of the of the bamboo basket weaving, eleven families are in charge of the “by hand or foot” rice husking, five families are responsible for the blacksmith ‘show’, and twenty-four families provide a local guide who are experienced men, know the fauna and flora, and indigenous cultures, like no other.
Each groups income such as: homestay 4 USD/night/person; food 4 USD/meal/person; Baci-ceremony, sword dance, and flute performance 65 USD/time; bamboo basket making 12 USD/time; husking rice “by hand or foot” 12 USD/time; blacksmith 12 USD/time and local guide 8 USD/day.