The Lao government is committed to developing and improving five tourism sites in each province along with road access and other facilities over the coming year, in a bid to attract more tourists.
This was the message from the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Bosengkham Vongdara when speaking at the opening of the National Assembly session on Wednesday.
The minister said the government will encourage the private sector to help develop infrastructure, facilities and other services to accommodate the growth of tourism.
Bosengkham highlighted the significance of the recent information campaign to promote Laos and its colourful attractions to the rest of the world.
“Although Laos failed to attract five million tourists in 2018, the country has created a favourable and satisfactory tourism development environment for both the private and public sectors,” the minister said.
“The success of the Visit Laos 2018 campaign laid an important foundation for Visit Laos-China Year 2019 and the future development of the tourism industry.”
Laos recorded 4.18 million international visitor arrivals last year, an increase of 8.2 per cent compared to 2017, generating revenue of over $811 million.
Also of note was the number of domestic tourists at 2.8 million last year, an increase of 26 per cent compared to the year before. Their spending for the year amounted to $461 million.
Including domestic tourists, the total number of holiday-makers in Laos reached seven million last year.
Bosengkham said the government had invested a huge amount in the development of tourism, building new access roads to visitor attractions, constructing new sites, and providing more facilities for tourists.
The government also approved more flights between Laos and other countries including Vietnam, China, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. Additionally, the government improved immigration procedures at international and local border crossings.
Chairman of the Cultural and Social Committee of the National Assembly, Somphou Douangsavanh, congratulated the achievements attained by the government to develop the tourism sector.
Nevertheless, he called for the government to develop the industry with a greater focus on infrastructure development, to meet the needs of the tourism sector and improve the livelihoods of the locals.
The National Assembly also called for the government to take into account the safety of tourists and the importance of promotional tourism campaigns for international visitors.
The tourism industry not only plays a significant role in boosting economic growth but is also creating a massive number of job opportunities for local communities.
Tourism has resulted in the improvement of services and infrastructure, including roads, as well as the construction of new hotels, restaurants, airports and other facilities. VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK