2 - 5 September, Gyeonggi, South Korea




Message from H.E. Dr Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General a.i, UNWTO


"The Vientiane Declaration on Ecotourism in Developing Countries reaffirms the principles and guidelines developed by UNWTO during the International Year of Ecotourism 2002, providing fresh recommendations to enable stakeholders to not just advocate the principles of sustainable development of tourism, but to also deliver on the vision and goals of the World Ecotourism Conference in an effective manner.


In  light of its importance to the international tourism community, I am pleased to inform you that the World Tourism Organisation fully endorses the Vientiane Declaration on Ecotourism in Developing Countries; we will certainly disseminate the Declaration among our Members and through our website and we sincerely hope that the implementation of the positive action plan that it contains will reflect on the future performance of ecotourism in Lao PDR and other countries in the region."


H.E. Dr Taleb Rifai

Secretary-General a.i.

World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)

3rd August 2009



Origins of WEC2009

The origin of WEC2009 was mooted in the 5th Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference (APECO) held in the State of Terengganu, Malaysia from 27th to 28th 2007.


The Conference was graced by Board Members of The International Ecotourism Association (TIES), one of the largest and most influential ecotourism societies in the world, represented by their Chair (Prof Dr Kelly Bricker), the Deputy Chair (Mr Anthony Charters) and 2 other board members, Mr Masaru Takayama and Ms Carolyn Wild.


6 of the speakers at APECO2007 will be taking the speaker's podium again at the World Ecotourism Conference 2009. They are Mr Anthony Charters (Tony Charters & Associates), Mr Masaru Takayama (Japan Ecolodge Association), Mr Jose Ma Lorenzo Tan (WWF, Philippines), Mr Ary Suhandi (Indonesia Ecotourism Network), Prof Dr Amran Hamzah (UTM Malaysia) and Mr Amiruddin Abu (Tourism Malaysia)


For more info:


About WEC2009

The World Ecotourism Conference (WEC) 2009 hosted by Lao PDR is an ambitious initiative to bring global ecotourism players together to network, collaborate and share their experiences, best practices and technologies for the betterment of nature conservation, environment protection, preservation of communities and consequently the advancement of ecotourism around the world.


The Conference with the theme "New Paradigms and Resilience for Sustainable and Responsible Tourism in Developing Countries" will focus on "developing regions" which are sustained by a combination of private sector market-led initiatives and supportive government policies.


The topics will focus on new strategies and applications, innovative capacity building & management, global networking through new media technologies as well as unprecedented public-private sector cooperation as a means to a resilient industry. 


Examples of developing areas given special emphasis are The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore (IMS-GT) Growth Triangle and the Brunei Darussalam- Indonesia - Malaysia -Philippines - East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).


Besides discussing the impact of climate change on tourism that we face today, topics are broadened to explore other critical issues as well - sustainable tourism development in least developed areas, tapping benefits of ecotourism locally and regionally, mitigating long haul carbon footprint to sustain ecotourism and meeting UN Millennium development goals, big ideas for small scale ecotourism operations, government policies vs business economics, the pros and cons of eco-certification and accreditation programs, introducting web media technologies for consumer education, stakeholders communication and bridging the digital divide.


Global Overview

To provide a global overview of ecotourism around the world, the results and outcomes of various international ecotourism conferences will also be invited to be presented at the World  Conference in Laos - the Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference (APECO) 2008, the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference 2008, the Ecotourism Australia Conference 2008 and  the BIMP-EAGA Community-Based Ecotourism Conference 2008, Adventure Travel World Summit South America and the UNWTO Tourism Ministers Resilience Meeting.


Expert Presentations and Interactive Sessions

WEC2009 will present you with an extensive panel of international and expert keynote speakers presented in 3 days of interactive sessions. Representing proponents and practitioners from the Trade, Governments, NGOs, Academia as well as Eco-Travellers, the Conference focuses on the participants concerns and seeks practical solutions to current tourism issues.


World Ecotourism Conference 2009 - New Paradigms and Resilience in Sustainable and Responsible Tourism in Developing Countries

Asia Pacific Ecotourism Society (APES) Inception Meeting 2009

WEC2009 Green Tourism Technical Tours

Public - Private Sector Appointment Sessions


Excellent Networking and Learning Opportunities

The 2009 World Ecotourism Conference, with the contribution, support and enthusiasm of committed partners, will provide an exciting and engaging forum for discussion of current issues, solutions and best practice case studies. Get to know the Speakers and "who's who" in the ecotourism fraternity. Great networking opportunities will be engaged in a set of cultural program and technical tours.


Tours and Adventure in the Land of A Million Elephants and Beyond

This year for the first time, the Conference is held in Laos where the land is destined to be a model ecotourism destination yet undiscovered, exciting and educational.


A new Conference program format will incorporate technical tours to the region's unique surrounds and natural assets. Delegates will have the option of benefiting from specially designed tour and activities  subsidised by the Governments and private sector of ASEAN countries in the region  . Definitely not to be missed!


At the end of the 3 days conference, the various workshops and panels discussion will provide for various networking opportunities over two days and tap on explosion of ideas and solutions professed by the ecotourism panel speakers.


The conference is targetted at  :-

PRIVATE SECTOR - Tourism entrepreneurs, investors, operators, tour operators/owners, lodge owners and lodge operators, owners of budget hotels to five star resorts, park authorities management staff, tourist guides, eco-accommodation architects and engineers, hoteliers,

ACADEMIA - Deans. professors, lecturers, researchers and university students

PUBLIC SECTOR - Ministers, parlimentarians, local government authorities, public sector agencies in tourism, culture or environment,  researchers, members of think tanks and policy makers

NGOs - Not-for-profit non-governmental organisations involved in social, economic and environmental conservation activities

ANYONE - Those who wish to learn, invest, operate or contribute to the growing sustainable tourism industry. Those who wish to know about the latest information on ecotourism markets, trends and marketing strategies will find the Conference relevant and rewarding.

Your Chance to visit Lao PDR!





5 Star Hotel (Don Chan Palace Hotel)

Inclusive 3 nights accommodation, 3 lunches, 6 teabreaks, 1 dinner, technical tour and 3 days conference and conference kit

Single Occupancy

US$171 X 3N = US$513 (RM2026)/pax

Double/Twin Occupancy (Min. 2 pax) US$147 x 3N = US$441(RM1742)/pax.

Extension Night = US$90 (RM356)/room (sgl/dbl)


4 Star Hotel in Vientiane Capital

Inclusive 3 nights accommodation, 3 lunches, 6 teabreaks, 1 dinner, technical tour and 3 days conference and conference kit

Single Occupancy

US$161 X 3N = US$483 (RM1908)/pax

Double/Twin Occupancy (min 2 pax) - US$141 x 3N = US$423 (RM1671)/pax

Extension Night = US$80 (RM316)/room (sgl/dbl)


3 Star Hotel in Vientiane Capital

Inclusive 3 nights accommodation, 3 lunches, 6 teabreaks, 1 dinner,  technical tour and 3 days conference and conference kit

Single Occupancy

US$151 X 3N = US$453 (RM1789)/pax

Double/Twin Occupancy (min. 2 pax)

US$136 x 3N = US$408 (RM1612)/pax

Extension Night = US$70 (RM277)/room



Budget Accommodation

Inclusive 3 nights accommodation, 3 lunches, 6 teabreaks, 1 dinner,  technical tour and 3 days conference and conference kit

Student Triple share (Min 3 pax)

US$80 per pax X 3N = US$240 (RM948)/pax

Extension night=US$60 (RM237)/room (triple)

Student verification is required


No Accommodation Needed

Inclusive 3 days Conference, Conference Kit, Technical Tour, 3 Lunches, 6 Teabreaks and 1 Dinner = US$240 (RM948)/pax


Note: RM = Malaysian Ringgit



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H.E. Prime Minister of Lao PDR, flanked by the Minister of Tourism, India, Minister of Tourism, Lao PDR and Under-Secretary of UNWTO at the Opening of the 1st World Ecotourism Conference in Vientiane.

DISCOVERYMICE, an affiliate member of World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the hosts, Lao National Tourism Administration (LNTA) wishes to thank H.E. Prime Minister of Lao PDR his guidance and support without which this historic conference would not be possible. The Organisers also wish to thank all conference sponsors for their generous support. And, of course, all the Delegates for their support of the Conference as well as Speakers who have shared their invaluable knowledge and experiences with everyone. 

This 1st World Ecotourism Conference was held in a very difficult period, hit by one of the worst global recessions and in the midst of a global H1NI flu outbreak alert. As a result there were 66 cancellations. Nevertheless, the Conference attracted 300 paying speakers and delegates from 30 countries. Tourism Malaysia and Tourism India sponsored lunches and DISCOVERYMICE sponsored a supper, members of Lao Association of Travel Agents (LATA) sponsored the transfers and technical tours and even tour guides sponsored their services. LNTA and 20 restaurants jointly hosted the Lao Gala Dinner with an extravaganza of Lao cuisine. It was truly a reflection of private-public-people partnership within the Lao tourism industry.

28 keynote and guest speakers from 13 countries presented their papers of which 26 speakers bore their own airfares/travel passage while 2 keynote speakers' airfares were sponsored by Vietnam Airlines and Discoverymice. The speakers are commended for their understanding and support without which the Conference would not have been such a great success. LNTA has proven that Lao PDR is capable of managing and hosting international tourism conferences and events through people's solidarity, resilience and partnerships. 

The conference proceedings was an immense achievement, concluding with the first ever ecotourism declaration in Asia and the Pacific - Vientiane Declaration on Ecotourism for Developing Countries, and setting a proud and historic day for Lao PDR, particularly in joining others as one of the leading ecotourism destinations committed to enshrine ecotourism's sustainability principles and best practices in their national tourism policies.

7th August 2009


Dear Friends,

With the excellent feedback from the WEC2009 delegates and with the support of UNWTO, international and regional associations as well as multilateral growth areas. , WEC2010 will continue to serve as an important platform for public-private sector networking and partnerships. WEC2010 will recognise the important role of Governments, parlimentarians, policy makers and academicians in developing countries to chart new paradigms for a more sustainable industry.


The composition of the WEC2009 delegates was 33% private sector, 31% public sector, 21% international organisations/NGOs, 13% academians and 2% others whereas the panel of speakers was represented by 21% public sector, 21% private sector, 36% international organisations/NGOs, 18% academicians and 4% others. This reflects an equal number of speakers and delegates from both the private sector and public sectors, and there were more opportunities for international organisations and NGOs to reach out and mediate both the public and private sectors in search of common goals.


Do mark your calendar for July 2010  and a even more fruitful Conference awaits you.


Best regards,

Lee Choon Loong

WEC2009 Conference Convenor

7th August 2009

    In times of an economic crisis  ... 






1st December 2008


Dear Friends in the Tourism Industry,


In the last few months, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930's has dawned upon us. Across the world, from the biggest economy to the most populous country, no nation is spared. Tourism industries in developing countries will be hard hit as travel is projected to face negative growth.


UNWTO has set up a "Tourism Resilience Committee" to respond to a turbulent world economy while staying on course the challenges of climate change and poverty alleviation. Following the Ministers' Summit, a series of response groups focusing on the regional impacts and action by the sector will follow looking at both immediate and longer-term response.


In developing countries, the ecotourism sector will without doubt face the full brunt of the consequences of a long drawn global economic downturn. Some of the challenges are reduction in funding, decline in long haul travel, socio-economic disruptions in community based projects and many other negative impacts.


The 2008 UNWTO Tourism Ministers' Summit concluded that the response by the tourism sector would need to be based on real-time market information, innovation, and increased collaboration at all levels. Greater than before, public-private cooperation was identified as a key to adjust to global macroeconomic developments.


In this connection, WEC2009, in response to global economic crisis and an industry in peril, is making fundamental changes to the conference programme in order for delegates to play a more meaningful role at this time of need and consolidation. Two of the innovative programmes are:


Asia Pacific Ecotourism Society (APES) Inception Meeting

Everyone who is involved in sustainable tourism businesses, practices, advocacy, development, marketing and management, we invite you to take on an incredible journey to establish a sustainable tourism network that is of the industry, by the industry and for the industry.


The targeted output of the Meeting is to create a common platform where Asia Pacific tourism industry players adopt a collaborative and resilient culture and for leaders to provide distinctive contributions to the industry. With your deep passion and enthusiastic energy, anything is possible ... Together We Can!


Key Objectives of APES:

  • First and foremost, to promote and maintain peace and stability within the region as no tourism initiatives or activities can survive the impact of conflicts, violence and destruction through civil wars, terrorism and political unrest.

  • To stage an annual ASIA PACIFIC ECOTOURISM CONFERENCE to be rotated among the ASEAN, Mekong and the Oceania countries with international operational and financial support of international tourism organisations and facilitators.

  • To develop regional markets for ecotourism in Asia Pacific, in response to long haul carbon footprint concerns and the economic downturn in traditional eco-tourist markets in the West.

  • To create a platform for the green tourism industry players in the Asia-Pacific region to meet and discuss annually, the challenges and solutions through collaborative partnerships and exchange of knowledge and expertise.

  • As ecotourism destinations, to self-determine best practices and benchmarking at par within the region to achieve optimal balance between environment and economy.

  • To strengthen bilateral and regional co-operation through established framework like IMT-GT, IMS-GT, BIMP-EAGA, GMS etc as well as bilateral MOUs between respective Governments and between private sector organisations.

Public Sector-Private Sector Meeting Sessions 

Delegates from the public and private sector in the region are expected take this opportunity to strengthen collaboration in addressing social, economic and environment challenges. Companies in Asia, Europe and US that want to cooperate with partners in the Asia Pacific region on sustainable tourism can arrange meetings at WEC2009.


WEC2009 plays host to government initiatives in this region promoting eco-tourism and green tourism. The pre-scheduled meetings for the participating companies as well as with government agencies, takes into consideration their individual requests, their profiles and their objectives. Through the "match-make meetings", WEC2009 and its partners aim to create an arena for meaningful and successful business meetings for the ecotourism and sustainable tourism sector.


The World Conference is renamed World Ecotourism Conference (WEC) 2009 and the revised theme focuses on "New Paradigms and Resilience for Sustainable and Responsible Tourism in Developing Countries".  The panel of presenters and audience will comprise of serious proponents, practitioners and Governments who are committed to developing and promoting green tourism in developing countries particularly, the Asia Pacific region renowned for its rich biodiversity and tourism attractiveness.


For the ultimate experience, participants are welcomed to enter Laos through any of the 16 cross border checkpoints with China, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. Wherever possible, cross border overland technical tours are being planned for participants to experience distinctive business models of ecotourism and green tourism in Laos as well as equally impressive ecotourism attractions and world heritage sites in the region.


This important Conference itself is an example of a public - private sector collaboration between the Lao Government and DISCOVERYMICE in staging this not-for-profit ecotourism conference. We welcome your participation in WEC2009 and most important your much needed contribution towards the betterment of the green tourism industry.


Lee Choon Loong

Conference Convenor



Read more

Join Us in the World's Premier Eco-Tourism Networking Event



On behalf of the Government of Lao PDR, the Lao National Tourism Administration (LNTA) is proud to announce that the World Ecotourism and Adventure Conference will be held in charming Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR from 15 Ė 16 July, 2009.


This innovative conference aims to present modern approaches to sustainable tourism development and management at World Heritage Sites, exchange lessons-learned regarding global best-practice in the ecotourism and community-based tourism sectors and seek solutions to mitigate and reverse negative impacts of tourism such as climate change and environmental degradation. Lao PDR, Asiaís newest and fastest growing tourist destination is well suited to host this event based on its reputation for warm hospitality and wealth of cultural, natural and historic tourism assets including two UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Sites and a network of 20 National Protected Areas that cover more than 13% of the country. 


The LNTA is pleased to be working with DISCOVERYMICE, Malaysiaís leading tourism event organizer to stage the Conference, and has planned a series of local events including the Lao International Tourism Exhibition and Food Festival to add value to the Conference itinerary.


I would therefore like to kindly encourage both public and private sector participation in the 2009 World Ecotourism and Adventure Conference and look forward to warmly welcoming you to Vientiane next July.   



H.E. Mr. Somphong Mongkhonvilay

Minister, Chairman

Lao National Tourism Administration



Preliminary Conference Topics

Market Development &



Market Development & Resilience

Developing regional and domestic markets for ecotourism, learning from the leaders in destination positioning, e-marketing and the evaluation of green tourism economies in developing countries, exploring the successful branding of destinations with world heritage status and of commercial companies acquiring green certification; and analyzing how to protect the brand when crisis strikes.



Public & Private Sector



Public & Private Sector Partnerships

successful recipes for collaborating with other destinations and working with the industry, sharing resources, soliciting public funding plus the way forward for destinations enhancing tourism competitiveness through cooperation as well as building sustainable success through partnerships.






Sustainable Tourism &



Sustainable Ecotourism & Roadmaps

Sustainable Ecotourism embraces all segments of the industry with guidelines and criteria that seek to reduce environmental impacts, particularly the use of non-renewable resources, using measurable benchmarks, and to improve tourismís contribution to sustainable development and environmental conservation. Where are we now and where are we heading?



Local Communities' Challenges

& Solutions


Local Community Challenges & Solutions:

reduce tourismís negative impacts and to increase the positive contribution of tourism business and consumption activity to local sustainable development. Solutions to adverse tourism impacts are to be found in the shared interest of local communities, tourism businesses, and tourism consumers to maintain the natural wealth and social heritage of the tourist destination.



 Lao National Touirsm Administration 

Lao Association of Travel Agents

 Lao Hotel & Restaurant Association

Tourism Authority of Thailand

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

  Host and Organisers      

Supporting Government Agencies


Supporting International Organisations                      

Official Airline


Official International Airline



Supporting International Airlines

 Supporting Airline Partners

Supporting International Hospitality & Travel Partners


 Supporting International Travel Partners


Supporting Media Partners


Supporting International Travel Partners

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