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Laos and S. Korea Mull Ways to Bolster Tourism

Source: Vientiane Times

Officials from Laos and the Republic of Korea are exploring ways to expand tourism between the two countries and last week met in Luang Prabang province to share their experiences and build cooperation between their government and private sectors.

The two sides discussed ways to encourage more people to travel between Laos and Korea, with Korean tourists returning to Laos following the lifting of Covid-related travel restrictions

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Last year, more than 1.29 million foreign visitors including Korean nationals came to Laos. Korean tourists usually travel in large groups and are interested in exploring Laos throughout all tourist seasons. In the first two months of this year, 34,326 Korean nationals visited Laos while Korean performers promoted tourism in Laos.

Vangvieng district in Vientiane province, and Luang Prabang province, are particular favorites among Koreans visiting Laos.

The meeting was co-organized by Laos’ Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and the Centre of Asean-Korea. The talks were attended by Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Mr. Ounthuang Khaophanh, representatives of Korea’s tourism ministry, a lecturer from Korea, and business operators in Luang Prabang province.

Mr. Ounthuang said tourism was an important source of revenue and served to improve socio-economic conditions in many countries. But when the Covid pandemic hit, tourism was severely disrupted and countries around the world suffered an economic downturn as a result. Fortunately, travel restrictions have been lifted worldwide and tourism is on the rebound. 

The Lao government is now working hard to revive tourism and bring more visitors to Laos. Tourism is a pillar of the country’s economic development, provides people with jobs, and boosts the incomes of rural populations.

Laos is working with other ASEAN countries, and nations in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, in its efforts to restore tourism. Laos and the Republic of Korea have enjoyed friendly relations and cooperation for many years. Korea has supported rural and village development in Laos, and travel between the two countries is on the upswing.