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Tourism sector looking to boost its capacity

The engagement of local authorities and investments will help the government boost the number of foreign travellers over the years to come, reports a senior tourism official.

The Thamnamlod Xebangfai cave is just one of the many natural tourism sites in Bualapha district, Khammuan province.

Deputy Director General of Tourism Development Department under the Ministry Information, Culture and Tourism Ms Phonemaly Inthaphom told Vientiane Times yesterday that the ministry already plans to develop many tourist attractions across Laos through 2020.

“The ministry has signed a development plan of tourism sites with local authorities. For instance, each province has been assigned to develop a total of 20 tourism sites through the fiscal years 2013-20, meanwhile the ministry itself has a total of 23 tourism sites,” she said.

Currently, Laos has more than 1,900 tourism sites - including developed and undeveloped sites - across the country which includes natural, historical and cultural tourism spots.

“Those undeveloped sites do not even have roads to access the tourism sites and informally open them to the public,” Ms Phonemaly said, adding that Laos has a wide range of tourism sites but the lack of development funds is still an issue.

However the government also encourages private investors to invest in tourism services across the country.

Following the government's efforts to boost the tourism environment and attract more foreign visitors it has seen several private investors in Vientiane create destinations like Phutawen Farm in Thaphabath district, Borikhamxay province and the Pheuksa Garden in Naxaithong distict, Vientiane.

Most importantly, the government and provincial authorities have also approved many investment projects in the model of “clean and tourism-friendly agriculture” which are now being carried out in many of the country's provinces.

Significantly the tourism sector has been one of the outstanding revenue collectors after the energy and mines sector.

Last year, tourism injected more than US$724 million or 5.9 billion kip into the national budget, the latest data suggests.

However, the revenue generated by tourism in 2016 dropped slightly from the more than US$725 million generated by the sector in 2015, according to data from the Tourism Development Department.

The decrease was partly due to the fact that foreign tourist arrivals to Laos in 2016 declined. Laos received just more than 4.1 million foreign visitors in 2016, down from 4.68 million foreigners in 2015 and below the targeted 4.7 million for 2016.



By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 19, 2017)

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