A tourism SEA in the Golden Quadrangle (2011 to 2012)

In recent years, the border region around the Golden Quadrangle, involving PR China, Lao PDR, and Thailand, has received attention for potential tourism development. There is increased tourism development in the Xishuangbanna area and in Northern Lao PDR (both ecotourism and cultural tourism) and this area has been designated as a key development priority under the GMS Tourism Sector Strategy.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was underway to provide a better understanding of how development pressures impact on cultural and natural assets that are the area’s main tourism attractions. It also sought to assess environmental consequences of poorly planned tourism development and helped ensure that tourism contributes to socioeconomic and environmental development goals.

The SEA contributed towards the vision of developing the GMS as a single tourism destination in an environmentally sustainable manner. It built on an earlier transport-related SEA in the North-South Economic Corridor (NSEC) completed in 2009. 

It proved challenging to achieve consensus on priority issues with three countries having differing visions for tourism development and concerns. However, the SEA created a shared vision for tourism development in the Golden Quadrangle, enabling a joint response to the regional issues identified.

So far, the SEA provided important insights into how development pressures are impacting the cultural and natural assets of the main tourism attractions in the area and  revealed the consequences of poorly planned tourism development.

The SEA was expected to feed into current national and regional planning processes including the GMS Tourism Working Group’s tourism development planning framework and the NSEC Strategy and Action Plan. In meeting future goals, it identified the need to focus on ensuring that tourism and environmental agencies in implementing countries have the necessary human resource capacity to implement recommendations.

Publish Date: 31st May 2012

Last Updated: 16th September 2013

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