All travelers entering Laos on foreign passports, including residents, will have to reach into their pockets for an extra US$1 bill in the form of a tourism development levy when entering via international border immigration checkpoints from October 1.
The tourism fund was set up in line with the government’s decree No 119 issued on April 2017.
“Tourists (travelers) who hold all passports and border-passes will be charged US$1 to the tourism fund from October 1 in order to collect funds for tourism development,” Deputy Director General of the Planning and Finance Department of the Information, Culture and Tourism Ministry, Ms Khammay Phengsavanh was quoted as saying in state-run daily Vientiane Times.
The move comes as Laos seeks to raise more revenue to fund ongoing upgrades to the tourism and sector, a crucial one for the country, at a time of major demands on the country’s budget for flood disaster recovery efforts as well as infrastructure investment.
The effects of the imposition of such a charge (and the implementation of the levy collection regime) on border processes and the relative competitiveness of Laos’ tourism industry, vis a vis its competitors, remains to be seen.