Laos Hopes to Attract 1.4 Million Tourists in 2023

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A tourist walks along the sidewalk in Laos.
A tourist walks along the sidewalk in Laos.

Laos has set a goal of attracting 1.4 million international tourists in 2023, well below the number that arrived in 2019 before the pandemic.

Laos’ Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism held a national-level meeting this week, with Minister Suanesavanh Vignaket urging officials in the tourism sector to work harder to strengthen tourism operations, improve local infrastructure, and create new tourism products.

The ministry believes that it could net up to USD 340 million from the tourism sector if tourists stay an average of seven days per visitor.

Deputy Minister Vansy Kuamua noted that the Ministry will strive to improve the Lao National Ecotourism Strategy 2023-2030, as well as upgrade tourism sites and improve the quality of hotels and guesthouses to meet ASEAN standards.

The Lao Thiao Lao domestic tourism campaign continues in 2023, with the government hoping to continue attracting domestic tourists as well as visitors from abroad.

Meanwhile, the country has begun preparing for the arrival of Chinese tourists after Laos was listed among 20 nations greenlit by the Chinese government for outbound group tours.

At a public-private dialogue meeting held last week, private sector stakeholders and government representaties discussed the country’s readiness for a potential influx of Chinese tourists.

Many raised concerns about a chronic labor shortage being experienced in Laos since the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw unskilled labor flock to Thailand and other nieghboring countries for more work and higher pay.

The Ministry has said it will work with businesses to compile information on the number of workers in the tourism sector to try to understand labor demand.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Promotion Department is to improve signage around the country to include Chinese langauge, as well as improve access roads and toilet facilities at tourism sites.

Lao Airlines is set to launch new routes between Lao sand China, including flights to Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, Changzhou, and Hangzhou, however, the Laos-China Railway has remained tight-lipped about when it may offer connecting services between Laos and China.


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