The government has designated 2018 as a year of promoting Lao tourism industry under the theme “Visit Laos Year 2018” to attract more foreign visitors.
Visit Laos Year 2018 is expected to be launched in coming November in coincidence with the annual That Luang Festival, the celebration of revered That Luang (grand stupa) where pieces of Buddha relics are kept.
A number of high ranking officials and journalists from other countries will be invited to take part in Visit Laos Year 2018 launching event, a meeting held at Prime Minister’s Office in Vientiane Capital on Sep 4 was told.
Held in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone and Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Bosengkham Vongdara, the meeting aimed to provide opportunity to representatives of relevant sectors to discuss their preparations for the launch of Visit Laos Year 2018 edition.
Addressing the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone called on relevant sectors to be particularly attentive to peace maintenance, order and cleanliness in the society and to help preventing a rise in crimes and social illness, the improvement of basic infrastructure, tourism sites, accommodation facilities, as well as public transport and telecommunication facilities.
The DPM also urged relevant sectors to remove document-related barriers for foreign visitors, and deliberate on the fees that are charged from foreign visitors finding out whether they are suitable or acceptable for travellers. A favourable decision to lower fees for visas or entry into the country could be a major boost for tourists from overseas as Laos is currently experiencing a decline in arrivals.
After a drop in tourist arrivals last year, the first quarter of 2017 witnessed again a significant decrease in the number of visitors from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America.
Thailand, which had had dominated the list of foreign arrivals in Laos for several years, indicated a decline in the number of Thai nationals visiting Laos in the first quarter of 2017, dropping from 573,000 people in the same period last year to 498,000 this year.
The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism has suggested the government to create appealing conditions to attract potential foreign visitors who may consider visiting Laos in the future.