Our core team is made of 13 (soon to be 15) fulltime staff spread across Khiri’s offices in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Pakse. The vast majority of our team members are Lao with one Brit and an Austrian in the mix. Languages other than Lao spoken by our team members include Thai, English, German, French, and Spanish.
Our Laos team is comprised of many long-term staff who have developed great relationships with local suppliers, especially in and around Luang Prabang (this close guide/supplier relationship is currently being cultivated in Pakse).
Judith Schneider, our Laos Team’s Operations and Customer Relations Manager, spent her early years working in family hotels and gaining language skills while living in France and Spain. In between seasons, she followed her passion for travel and backpacked around the world. While backpacking, she became aware of the negative effects of irresponsible tourism—life experience that led her to complete a Master’s Degree in Responsible Tourism Management. Judith ensures that Khiri practices responsible, ethical tourism through improving our village visits, reinforcing cultural interactions, and introducing further philanthropic activities into Khiri programmes. Responsible tourism also means high-quality tourism.
Lee, our British country manager, considers Laos his home after living and working here for over a decade. Tourism is a wonderful opportunity for learning and personal growth, Lee believes, and it can all be done in a way that benefits the people living in the places you visit. In addition to his work with Khiri, Lee was involves in Laos’ first ecotourism company and has also worked closely with the IFC on the highly successful ‘Stay Another Day’ campaign.
One of our favourite Lao guides, Mr Somphong Sakdy, is the author of a book on the murals of Wat Xieng Thong temple and is now working on his second book about the murals of Wat Mai (both temples are in Somphong’s hometown of Luang Prabang). In 2011, Somphong was nominated as one of only two guides from Laos to represent the country in the 1st ASEAN Tourist Guide Contest, and is sought out by historians and museum enthusiasts interested in heritage trips through Laos.