Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ADB: Agriculture, tourism development a potential driver of post-Covid jobs

ADB: Agriculture, tourism development a potential driver of post-Covid jobs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Agriculture employs 60 per cent of the workforce in Laos. PASAXON

ADB: Agriculture, tourism development a potential driver of post-Covid jobs

The agriculture and tourism sectors have huge potential to boost inclusive growth in Laos in both the medium and long term, according to a recent report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The report, “Developing Agriculture and Tourism for Inclusive Growth in Laos”, says it is critical to strengthen the linkages between these two sectors to recover the nation’s economy post-pandemic.

Agriculture and tourism provide jobs in rural areas and can support each other in two ways, according to the report.

The first one is the demand for high-quality agricultural products by tourism-related businesses, which can be provided by local farmers.

The second one is the fact that tourism can create employment opportunities outside of agriculture, thus boosting the off-farm earnings of rural households.

The report stated that the link between agriculture and tourism can make a strong contribution to both agri-tourism and sustainable development.

Agriculture employs 60 per cent of the workforce in Laos, while about 42,000 people were employed in tourism before the pandemic hit.

“Laos must continue to strengthen human capital so that workers can innovate, deliver higher-value tourism services, and rebuild public confidence to travel post-Covid-19,” the report said.

Special attention should be given to developing managerial and digital skills at the beginner and expert levels.

In addition, training programmes should be made accessible by increasing the number of training centres and promoting approaches such as on-the-job training.

The ADB report highlighted the importance of modernising agriculture for growth and poverty reduction, saying that investment in agricultural research, development, and extension has proved to be one of the highest-payoff aspects of public investment.

However, modernisation will require research on adapting high-yielding crop varieties to local conditions and ensuring the supply of complementary modern inputs.

Over the past three decades, Laos’ economy grew at an average of seven per cent annually. But this growth depended too much on the capital-intensive use of abundant natural resources, which created limited job opportunities.

As most of the poor in Laos still rely on rural agriculture for their livelihoods, a more productive agriculture sector and new opportunities through tourism can help reduce poverty and achieve inclusive growth.

Tourism was growing fast before the pandemic. International tourist arrivals reached 4.1 million in 2018, contributing 12 per cent of the country’s gross domestic products (GDP).

However, the ongoing pandemic is severely impacting this sector. The ADB survey for 2020 found that half of tourism enterprises were temporarily closed.

Nonetheless, economists say international tourism will become even more competitive once the pandemic subsides because more people are waiting to travel.

To attract higher-spending visitors, Laos should expand visa exemption

policies to countries with high outbound tourism expenditure, the report recommends.



  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10