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Brighter Future For Tourism As Visitor Numbers Soar

Source: Vientiane Times

More and more visitors are coming to Laos each month since the government reopened the country to tourism in May following the lifting of travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

From January to September, more than 1 million tourists were recorded as travelling in Laos, representing an increase of 39 percent compared to last year. This figure included 644,756 visitors from other countries, mainly Thailand and Vietnam.

Statistics show the average visitor on a group tour stays for 2.5 days and spends about US$45 per day. In contrast, an individual visitor stays for an average of 7.9 days and spends about US$83 per day.

The revenue generated from both Lao and foreign tourists is expected to reach over US$225 million so far this year.

Tourism authorities are working to further boost revenue, revitalise tourism-related businesses, and generate income to alleviate poverty levels.

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The Tourism Management Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on Tuesday held a meeting to discuss the current situation around tourist accommodation and restaurant facilities.

The meeting was attended by the department’s Director General, Ms Darany Phommavongsa, representatives of Vientiane and the provinces of Vientiane, Xaysomboun, Borikhamxay, Khammuan and Savannakhet, and other interested parties.

The meeting was supported by the Skills for Tourism Project, which is financed by the governments of Luxembourg and Switzerland.
Ms Darany said there were several challenges to overcome, mainly in relation to immigration procedures at border crossings, transport, accommodation, and the provision of food.

The meeting discussed the difficulties encountered in providing adequate services and modernising the tourism sector. The government plans to create a streamlined tourism industry in ways that comply with green and sustainable development targets.

There will also be an emphasis on justice within the tourism sector through the application of laws in relation to the country’s social and economic development priorities.

Tourism in a major pillar of the government’s social and economic development plans, due to its potential to generate a large amount of revenue for local communities.

The government hopes to attract 900,000 foreign visitors this year, who are expected to generate more than US$218 million, according to a Statistical Report on Tourism.

The number of tourist arrivals has increased significantly in recent months, providing much-needed foreign currency, which is urgently needed to buy imported goods.

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism has formulated the Lao Tourism Development Strategic Plan for 2021-2025, which aligns with the government’s policy to promote the country’s natural, cultural, historical and agricultural attractions to bolster ‘green tourism’ and its sustainability.