Indonesia will begin promoting its potential as a business and travel destination to the people of Laos through the establishment of its Wonderful Indonesia Center in Vientiane.
The necessary licenses to build the culture center have been approved, and the center is expected to open soon.
“We want to spread the word that there is more to Indonesia than simply Jakarta, Borobudur, or Bali,” said A. Firman Arif W. Soepalal from the Indonesian Embassy in Laos.
The Wonderful Indonesia Center will display the local products of Indonesia, and promote tourism to the country.
“We also hope to institute some other programs, such as Indonesian language classes at the center,” said Mr Firman.
Meanwhile, Indonesia hosted a Small and Medium Enterprises Exhibition and Planetarium Walk in Laos from May 5-6 at Vientiane Center shopping complex.
Representatives from the Indonesian Embassy to Laos said that Indonesian investors should capitalize on business opportunities in Laos, and that the fair held at Vientiane Center was one way to show Indonesian investors what Laos had to offer.
So far, only a handful of Indonesian companies have been willing to invest in or develop production in Laos, citing the lack of a coastline as one major hindrance.
“We must be willing to change the mindset that Laos is a lagging country, while actually it has much potential,” said Mr Firman, stating that the Lao Foreign Minister had provided details on several forms of cooperation possible between both countries.
A number of other countries have been successful in investing in the Lao economy, such as Singapore and Malaysia.
According to Wishnu Krisnamurthi, the chief Economy Function of the Indonesian Embassy in Laos, a number of Indonesian products find their way to Laos by way of Thailand, rather than through direct exports.
The largest Indonesian investment in Laos to date is a cinema network, with majority shares being held by an Indonesian businessman, in partnership with a Thai company.
Indonesia and Laos established formal diplomatic relations in 1957. The two nations have often expressed a desire to reach further agreements in security, sports, air transport an education.
There are currently no direct flights between Indonesia and Laos.
Source: Jakarta Post