Laos acknowledges global importance of travel and tourism
Laos has become one of 56 countries around the world and one of 12 Asian countries driving a new campaign on the importance of travel and tourism to facing global challenges.
Mr Thongsing Thammavong ( right ) greets Mr Taleb Rifai at the Government Office in Vientiane.
This was highlighted yesterday as the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary General Mr Taleb Rifai presented an open letter to Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong at the Government Office in Vientiane.
The letter was presented to heads-of-state and governments worldwide by the World Travel and Tourism Council and the UNWTO, highlighting the importance of travel and tourism and urging them to accept its relevance in terms of facing today's global challenges.
According the contents provided in the letter, travel and tourism is today one of the world's largest generators of employment and export earning, and a key driver of economic growth and development.
For Laos, tourism has been the second ranked income generator for the country for many years, bringing in US$514 million in revenue to the nation in 2012. The number of tourist arrivals reached 3.3 million last year, up 22 percent on the previous year.
The country was also recognised by the European Council on Tourism and Trade as the World's Best Tourist Destination for 2013.
The 20th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly, which took place in Zimbabwe and Zambia from August 24 to 30, has elected the country as a member of the Credential Committee of the East Asia and Pacific region for 2013-2015.
Despite the fact that Laos been successful in promoting the tourist industry, the country still faces challenges in terms of the sector's development.
At the presentation ceremony, Prime Minister Thongsing called on the UNWTO to provide continued assistance in human resource development and technical expertise.
Mr Rifai promised to make every effort to assist the country, including playing a coordination role in the cooperation between Laos and other countries in the sector.
Quotations and images of Prime Minister Thongsing taken as he was presented with the open letter will also be used to build a ‘Golden Book of Travel & Tourism', showcasing the government's commitment to promoting travel and tourism to the world community as a means of sustainable development.
During his stay in Laos from October 26 to 30, Mr Rifai has visited Luang Prabang where he called on the Vice Governor of the province, Mr Khamkhanh Chanthavisouk, and toured the tourism attractions in the World Heritage city.
He also called on Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Professor Dr Bosengkham Vongdara yesterday at the ministry's office, and attended the meeting between the UNWTO, the ministry, and business operating in the tourism sector.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update October 30, 2013)