This study used an area assessment technique and local community interviews as the key tools to achieve the three study objectivesï¼što assess the potential of the site for ecotourism establishment; to examine the local needs and readiness of the community to participate in the ecotourism management; and to examine factors affecting the opinions of local community participation plan of ecotourism. To assess these three main objectives, 194 respondents were selected and interviewed. The responses were then analyzed statistically using percentage, maximum, and mean values. In addition, the hypotheses were developed and tested using the chi-square analysis technique in order to determine relationships between the variables. The site assessment using four ecotourism criteria showed 85%, which falls into an â€œexcellentâ€ category of ecotourism potential. In addition, the interviews to promote local community participation in the ecotourism plan were also used to assess the local needs and readiness. The results tabulated from the interviews show that the local needs of ecotourism were of 3.44, showing that there was an urgent need among the local community, while the readiness to respond to this need was 2.69; the local needs of tour guides was 3.51, while the readiness was 3.03; the local needs for the services was 3.19, while the readiness was 2.05. Furthermore, the study determined that the need for government support in four activities was at the medium level. The results showed the home stays was an average of 2.00, the tour guides was 2.00, the infrastructure development was 2.01, and the provision of goods and services was 2.00. Finally, the results of hypothesis testing on statistical significance at the 0.05 level indicated no significant difference in responses based on the gender and the readiness of the services to provide tour guides, age and the needs of the services to provide accommodation, age and the needs and readiness of the services to provide tour guides, occupation and the needs of the services to provide accommodation, income and the readiness of the services to provide accommodation.
assessing potential, ecotourism, local community participation, Laos
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