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Five Million Tourists Target Proving Lofty, PM Admits

Source: Vientiane Times

The government is not so confident in achieving its target of attracting five million tourists to Laos in 2018 as an informal mid-year summary had shown that less than two million had visited the country so far this year, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told the recent Lao Business Forum.

He said the government had set a target of welcoming five million visitors and generating more than US$900 million through the Visit Laos Year 2018 promotional campaign.

However, there are still challenges due to the constraints faced by the tourism sector, he said.

“We still face challenges in reaching five million visitors as the current figure for mid-year is not even touching two million,” he said, adding that the upcoming high season may still prove to be a boon for welcoming more visitors.

The Prime Minister also told the recent forum that the government is working in collaboration with the concerned ministry to promote tourism, but some challenges remain tough issues for the government and ministry.

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“The government is asking the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to analyse and summarise all of the issues being faced and to submit a written paper with proposals for the government to provide solutions through the issuance of a decree, order and statement,” he said.

Prime Minister Thongloun was also hopeful that there would be good weather conditions and a pleasant environment during the remaining six months of 2018 so that incoming foreign tourists would enjoy their stay in Laos.

During the same meeting, the deputy minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Savankhone Razmountry, responded to questions raised by business people in the sector.

He said that the government and the ministry had been working hard to promote tourism by engaging media representatives to produce more articles and images on tourist sites, restaurants and accommodation.

He said that the recent Asean plus three Working Visit Programme, co-organised by Laos and Thailand, had drawn journalists from Asean states and China and facilitated them to travel around Laos and some parts of Thailand.

“This programme marked a significant attempt to enable the promotion of tourism in Laos and Thailand,” he said, adding that the Mekong-Lancang Media Summit held in Vientiane was also designed to promote tourism, trade and investment in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China.
Mr Savankhone said the ministry is working hard on infrastructure development, management of tourism and increased safety for tourists at popular destinations.

“The ministry is always open for all kinds of consultants from the private sector to enrich the promotion of tourism, be it through discussions and meetings,” he said while responding to the questions of business people.

Private sector units engaged in tourism have proposed the government offer support to address barriers to make the sector more competitive and to increase tourism revenues while helping to improve the quality and diversity of tourism products and build more capacity and high-quality services.

The government has said it is committed to prioritising the development of tourism as it plays a vital role in the development of the domestic economy through job creation, community development and incentivising environmental protection measures.