Recently, the Management Board of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Khammouane Province (Laos) has held an inter-provincial consultation workshop on the transboundary management framework between the two national parks to promote cooperation in developing Vietnam – Laos cave tourism.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park covers an area of over 123,000 hectares including 300 caves, underground rivers, rare flora and fauna listed in the Vietnam Red Book and the World Red Book. In addition, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park has twice been recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage with outstanding global values of geology, geomorphology, and biodiversity.
Hin Namno National Park is in Boualapha District, Khammouane province. It covers a total area of more than 82,000 hectares, with a rich ecosystem located on uninterrupted limestone mountains. This is the residence of a variety of animals, plants, rare animals, and many beautiful caves. These two areas are located adjacent to each other, contiguous to a system of limestone mountains on the border of Vietnam – Laos.
It is known that Laos is in the process of completing the dossier of Hin Namno Nature Reserve for nomination as a World Natural Heritage. If the nomination is successful, the two sides will have a common management mechanism to exchange information and share experiences in patrolling, forest protection, biodiversity conservation, livelihood development, and tourism for both parties. It will be the first World Natural Heritage site of Laos. With a total area of 217,000 ha, Hin Namno National Park and Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park are one of the largest karst (limestone) conservation areas in the world.
At the workshop, the two sides focused on discussing the cooperation to effectively ensure the outstanding values of the two national parks; the association and cooperation to form common tourism products, support promotion to attract tourists between the two provinces; activities to promote cooperation in developing cave tourism between Vietnam and Laos; at the same time, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two leading adventure tourism units of the two countries are Oxalis Adventure (Vietnam) and Green Discovery (Laos) to support a number of fields to promote tourism potentials, ensure development cooperation, effectively coordinate and protect the outstanding global values of the national parks according to IUCN criteria mentioned in the transboundary management framework.