The Ta Lai Longhouse was initiated through a national program for ecotourism development in and around protected areas of Vietnam. The pilot program was introduced in Cat Tien Nation Park with sponsorship from DANIDA through WWF-Denmark and WWF-Vietnam. The aim is to directly contribute to nature conservation and the development of the local community via ecotourism activities.
In 2008, WWF-Vietnam officially began implementing the ecotourism project. The Ta Lai Longhouse is the first ever community based tourism project in Cat Tien National Park, with the aim of providing support and alternative forms of livelihood for the local communities, while raising awareness in protecting nature and wildlife for locals and visitors. The approach is participatory with the local community at the centre, WWF as the facilitator together with the involvement of the private sector and the national park.
With sustainability as the driving force, the project facilitated the partnership between the local community and the private sector. Capheex Ltd was selected as the strategic partner, to liaise with the local community and manage the operation of tourist activities and to develop a long term public relations and marketing strategy.
When the building work began in November 2010, only 20 people were involved, but this number quickly grew to nearly 200 people, by the time the project was completed in January 2011.
The Longhouse officially opened its door to tourists in March 2012.
Ta Lai Longhouse is a project established to support and improve the livelihood of the local communities, while raising awareness for the environment. By creating jobs directly and indirectly for local people, Ta Lai Longhouse has proven that by preserving nature and culture, locals can have more stable income than collecting forest products, which can be an exploitation of the forest and its natural resources.
The contribution of Ta Lai Longhouse is performed in three main ways:
- Community Development Fund (CDF): 150.000vnd per adult and 75.000vnd per child per night are remitted to the CDF monthly. This fund is distributed in community development: loans for local families with 0% interest to raise livestock, poultry etc and public facilities such as rubbish bins and rubbish collection and tree planting. As well as reinvestment for tourism activities such as management costs for the Collaborative Group, and renovation for the Longhouse.
- Local Liaison: through the introduction of the sponsors such as international schools and companies interested in community services, the village and Ta Lai commune receive important help in improving public facilities.
- Creating local job opportunities: The Longhouse currently employs 10 permanent staff from Ta Lai commune in jobs such as cooking, security, tour guiding, maintenance, etc. Aside from monthly payment and compulsory insurance, the staff also receives extra healthcare cover as well as work-based accident insurance. Occasionally, when extra help is required The Longhouse always prioritises locals.
With our head office in Ho Chi Minh City our team combines locals, Vietnamese, French, and British. With such diversity we deliver services with a local identity and an international standard.
Our eleven strong local team based at The Longhouse is drawn solely from the three minority groups the Ma, Stieng and Tay.
We are experienced in organizing teambuilding, school trips, and kid camps with nature friendly and sporty programs.
From left to right: K’Ach, Dieu Ne, Ka Ban, Buom, Tay, Thanh, K’Yeu, Tinh