Hainan Airlines plans to launch two new services from Haikou to Laos in the near future, aiming to boost travel and economic exchanges between China and Laos.
The carrier will start a Haikou-Vientiane service every Wednesday, followed by Haikou-Luang Prabang every Sunday, with the flights expected to be between one hour and forty minutes in duration.
The Hainan provincial Tourism Department Commission, led by the department’s director, Ms Sun Ying, along with representatives of Hainan tourism companies and Hainan Airlines met with their Lao counterparts last week to discuss the matter.
On the Lao side were officials from the Tourism Development Department, the Lao National Tourism Association and Vientiane Information, Culture and Tourism Department.
Cooperation will encourage more Lao people to visit Hainan and more people from Hainan to visit Laos.
Laos currently has direct flights from Vientiane to different provinces such as Vientiane-Kunming, Vientiane-Quangzhou, Vientiane-Nanning and LuangPrabang-Jinghong.
The number of tourists visiting Laos has reached almost 4.7 million people, of which Chinese were among the top 10 foreign visitors, according to the Department of Tourism Development under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Those tourist arrivals brought revenue of more than US$725 million to Laos. It is expected that this figure will increase by 8.1 percent to five million people this year along with tourism revenues of around US$800 million.
The services sector is a priority sector for the government, as it brings in considerable revenue, officials at the Department of Tourism Development said.
The number of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants is continuing to increase alongside the growth of the Lao economy.
The government is also focusing on tourism development, and upgrading border checkpoints and airports to international standards in order to offer competitive services.
The country has potential for tourism development to connect with neighbouring countries and the Mekong region.
Meanwhile the planned Laos-China railway is one of numerous cooperation projects for service development between Laos and China.
Laos currently has 23 border crossings with neighbouring countries, of which 21 offer visas on arrival, including at the four international airports.
The country has almost 1,960 touris t sites, including over 270 historical attractions, almost 534 cultural attractions and 1,145 natural tourist sites. However, 50 percent of these sites have yet to be developed.
Officials believe that the new flights are an important addition to cooperation for boosting visitor numbers and revenues between Laos and China, especially in Vientiane, LuangPrabang and Hainan.
China is the largest foreign investor in Laos, especially in energy and mines, agriculture, industry and services.
Source: Vientiane Times