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Laos moves towards sustainable tourism

Sustainable and green tourism, particularly the development of ecotourism and agritourism, are among the goals Laos is striving for to attract more foreign visitors from 2021 to 2025.
These goals were highlighted in a report presented by the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Dr Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, at the ministry’s Fifth Party Congress on Thursday.
The minister said the government will tap the development potential of Laos’ natural, historical and cultural tourist attractions, which will also help to alleviate poverty in local communities.
He said it was essential to improve infrastructure and facilities and develop new tourism products that impress visitors, while ensuring their safety and avoiding damaging impacts on communities and the environment.
Laos has the potential to produce organic crops for supply to tourism-related markets and to reduce imports, but services must be improved and a wider variety of tourism products and activities offered to visitors.   
From 2015-2019, more than 21.76 million foreign tourists visited Laos, an increase of 17.7 percent compared to the previous five years. The average length of stay by foreign visitors is eight days.
Income from tourism rose by 41.7 percent over the past five years and the number of official tourist sites increased by 1.1 percent.
As of 2018, there were 670 hotels, 2,432 guesthouses and resorts, 2,646 restaurants and 305 entertainment venues, according to the ministry’s Tourism Development Department.
There are numerous officially-designated tourist attractions including 1,318 nature-based sites, 596 places of cultural interest, and 294 places of historical significance.
From January to September this year, the number of international visitors reached only 18 percent of the target, a decrease of 74 percent compared to the same period last year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apart from the pandemic, one of the main challenges to tourism is inadequate road access to tourist sites while land and air transport connecting to the main tourism markets remains unsatisfactory.
Despite these challenges, the government is working to promote tourism by encouraging Lao nationals to travel around the country in a bid to support local economies.   
The government has a clear policy to promote connectivity and integrate its tourism industry with the rest of the region, particularly Vietnam, China, and other Asean countries.
Regional cooperation will facilitate people-to-people exchanges and motivate the private sector to invest more in tourism-related businesses.
The government is actively running tourism campaigns to ensure that more people get to know about Laos and its fascinating attractions.
The tourism industry not only plays a significant role in boosting economic growth, but also creates a huge number of job opportunities.
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.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
December 11,

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