Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Overseas tour operators explore opportunities in Laos

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism is hosting a weeklong familiarisation trip to Borikhamxay and Khammuan provinces to show foreign tour operators and media the natural beauty of these areas.

The familiarisation trip, titled “The Loop” is taking place from July 12-17 and brings together 12 representatives of tour operators and media from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The programme will publicise some of Laos’ tourist attractions and encourage the tour operators to include some of these places in their package tours.

At the same time, media representatives will be able to see for themselves and report on the striking scenery and other places of interest to be found in Borikhamxay and Khammuan.

Director of the Marketing Division of the ministry’s Tourism Marketing Promotion Department, Mr Kettasone Sundara, told Vientiane Times at a meeting on Friday that the trip would promote Lao tourism activities by spreading the message of their appeal through foreign media and tour operators.

“Despite our limited promotional budget, we expect that this trip will raise the profile of our tourist attractions and the exciting destinations we can offer regional visitors. We are confident that this programme will result in an increased number of travellers,” he said.

The programme was initially funded by the Asian Development Bank (ABD). Other tourism programmes are also being carried out in relation to Visit Laos-China Year 2019.

“In terms of tourism promotion in foreign countries, Laos will also attend several important tourism fairs to be held in China in the coming months and we hope to derive considerable from these activities,” Mr Kettasone said.

One of those taking part in the trip, Malaysia’s General Manager of Hovando Holidays Sdn Bhd, Mr Teng Kim Teck, said his company had not previously arranged a tour package to Laos but mostly to Thailand, because the majority of people prefer to travel in group.

“I’m here as part of this familiarisation trip to look around for the possibility of organising future trips and to see what’s on offer here,” he said.

Last year, more than 4.1 million overseas tourists visited Laos, an 8.2 percent increase compared to 2017. Tourism generated revenue of more than US$755 million in 2018 alone.

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