In collaboration with Thailand, Vietnam and China, Laos is to be included in the development of sustainable tourism integration across eleven provinces in the upper Mekong Basin.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the mechanism of their cooperation was signed last Saturday by officials at the half-day meeting held in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Bokeo province.
Under the MoU, the provinces have agreed to coordinate cross border facilities, on tourism advertising and tourism infrastructure development. This includes tourism route connectivity, human resource development, and integration facilitation for international tourists.
The Laos provinces include Bokeo, Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Phongsaly, Luang Prabang and Xayaboury; The Chinese prefecture of Xishuangbanna; Sonla and Dien Bien Phu of Vietnam; and the Thailand provinces Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.
The participating countries will look to cooperate in developing and facilitating a single website for a more efficient approach with tourism sites, tourism advertising, routes, accommodation, restaurants and security guidance for each province being listed.
Additionally, all four provinces have agreed to provide free Wi-Fi at most tourist service destinations to equip visitors with the ability to communicate while travelling.
At the conference, Bokeo province Deputy Governor Dr Khamking Euaymanihak stated, “the free Wi-Fi will be a channel of advertising where visitors can share their travel experiences including tourist sites and attractions with their friends directly and timely.”
Also highlighted in the tourism integration agreement is the cooperation of the provinces in identifying cross-border tourism points and investing in these areas to attract more tourists to these established sites. They will also look to contribute assistance in the improvements and advertisements of tourist sites, hotels, restaurants, and service facilities to a quality standard.
Provinces will collaborate in hopes of developing a more systematic, efficient and comprehensive experience, such as improving the transportation systems between countries including the road links between Huayxai, Luang Namtha and Xieng Khuang in Laos and Kunming in China, the road between Huayxai in Laos and Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai in Thailand, and the road between Huayxai and Oudomxay in Laos and Dien Bien Phu, Son La, and Nge An in Vietnam.
The participating parties will also determine the optimal Mekong River tourism and goods transportation routes linking all four countries, which according to the programme, could be the Lancang River Tour. This will connect the provinces of Xieng Khuang, Chiang Sen, Bokeo, Xayaboury, Oudomxay, and Luang Prabang.
Border crossing points will also be an area of a improvement that the cooperation will be focusing on so that travelers can enter and exit each international checkpoint with little difficulty or hassle.