LUANG PRABANG, LAOS – Lanith sold out all its 17 slots for Luang Prabang eateries applying for “The Mark” for clean and safe dining in the UNESCO World Heritage town.
Luang Prabang, the capital of Luang Prabang Province in northern Laos, lies in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. It’s known for its many Buddhist temples, including the gilded Wat Xieng Thong, dating to the 16th century, and Wat Mai, once the residence of the head of Laotian Buddhism.
Word of Luang Prabang’s coveted award has been spreading fast since its launch last year. Overwhelming interest in The Mark prompted Lanith to organize a Lao-language event on global food safety guidelines.
The Mark Manager Manichan said, “It’s easy to get foreign-managed restaurants and hotels to apply for The Mark as they understand the importance of international standards. However, locals require greater awareness. They want to know what The Mark is, why they should get it, and the award process.”
The Mark represents Luang Prabang’s sole certification for meeting international food safety standards, which follow Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) global guidelines.
The Lanith Luang Prabang Training Center organized the Lao event on Friday, 1 July, with more than 30 local hospitality entrepreneurs attending.
The training center’s director Chounlachan Phengdy opened the event by showing a Lao-language edu-tainment video about The Mark. She followed with a detailed presentation and vibrant question and answer session. The audience voiced their enthusiasm.
Ms Latsamee from Somg Euay Nong restaurant said, “I have already sent some staff for CIEH training and will continue working hard until we get The Mark.”
Bauaby Xayalath from Korphaj restaurant said she has already taken Passport to Success food and beverage service courses, and is interested in CIEH courses so her family eatery can achieve The Mark.
Luang Prabang restaurant owner, Gudon Surika, said, “I want my staff to improve their service quality like in the video. My staff just don’t know. I will start sending them to basic Lanith Passport to Success courses. Then we can work our way towards getting The Mark.”
Sayphim Xayaphone owner of Phearnmai, a family-run restaurant, said, “I learned how important food safety, service quality, and The Mark are, and will propose our staff take Lanith Passport to Success courses that lead to The Mark.”
Ms Malee manages six new trendy Lao restaurants throughout Laos, and discovered the importance of refrigeration. “With our growing business, I now understand the need to have three units: one each for meats, vegetables, and dairy, as well as keeping proper temperatures.”
Lanith’s International Chef Advisor Paul Burnett and Lanith CIEH instructor, Kusonh Vilayvanh, are currently carrying out “mock” kitchen audits at the newly signed establishments to determine what applicants need to do to get The Mark.
The government will conduct official audits through September. The Luang Prabang Safe and Green Tourism Board will award The Mark in late September to those who pass the strict audit to ensure the restaurant meets internally recognized standards.
The Mark also began rolling out its promotional campaign on 1 July. This includes a Facebook group /The MarkLaos/, a web page www.TheMark.site on Lanith’s website, The Mark video, brochures targeting travel agents and travellers, and ongoing media presence.
On Monday, 25 June, the UNWTO awarded Lanith with TedQual certification. This make Laos one of only two ASEAN countries to pass the rigorous audit needed to achieve this highly prized, global hospitality institute certification.
Lanith is The Mark’s operating body, and receives support from UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).