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Media campaign promotes Lao Visit Laos tourism scheme

A media campaign has been launched to promote the Lao Thiao Lao (Lao Visit Laos) tourism programme which the government has initiated to offset the severe impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the tourism industry.
The five-day campaign, which began on Thursday, convened more than 10 reporters from television, radio and newspapers, including Chinese and Vietnamese radio and television, to uncover and publicise well-known nature-based, historical and cultural attractions in northern Oudomxay and Luang Prabang provinces.
It came as the government is encouraging more Lao people to take vacations around the country in a bid to revitalise the tourism industry, which has been paralysed due to the absence of foreign tourists following lockdowns imposed by many governments.

Leading the media trip, Acting Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department, Mr Khom Douangchantha, said he hoped the trip would help to rejuvenate and boost tourism as well as the economy as a whole.
“Travel will boost production, spending and create jobs,” he said.
The ‘Fam Trip for Lao Media and International Bloggers in the Lao PDR’ was organised by the ministry’s Tourism Marketing Department and Media Department in collaboration with the Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and provincial authorities.
Authorities are working in partnership with the private sector to promote travel by Lao nationals in the absence of foreign visitors.
Many tour and hospitality business operators have cut the cost of their package tours and services so they are affordable for local people.
Sponsored by the Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project II, the Fam Trip is also seen as part of preparation for welcoming foreign visitors back to Laos now that the government is easing restrictions to reopen the country to foreign travellers in order to alleviate the economic impact.  
Earlier this month, the cabinet decided in principle to bring in tour groups from countries where there is no community outbreak of Covid-19, and resume charter flights with outbreak-free countries.
In this regard, the cabinet entrusted the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control to work with the relevant ministries to define the details of the plan to realise the eased measures, while ensuring the virus does not spread to Laos.
The pandemic hit the tourism sector hardest. Over the past six months, international visitor arrivals shrank by 60 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the National Economic Research Institute.
Most regular international flights between Laos and China, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, and Vietnam have been suspended since February as a result of the virus outbreak.
The government cabinet said the easing of restrictions was to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic, particularly on the tourism industry.
Tourism has made an important contribution to Lao economic growth and job creation, and the sector has the potential to grow further, according to the World Bank.
In the next decade, nature-based tourism could grow in Laos from 4.3 percent of 2019 GDP (gross domestic product) and 3.5 percent of jobs to the global average of about 10 percent of GDP and 10 percent of jobs, the bank said.
“This opportunity is based on developing quality nature-based tourism products that respond to international demand, and policies that enable responsible private investment and effective conservation,” it said.
The bank recommended Laos to reduce barriers, streamline regulations, and promote innovation to attract more private investment in nature-based tourism.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update
October 13,

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