Laos Sets Plans For Influx of Chinese Tourists in 2023

Tourists in Luang Prabang.

Authorities have unveiled several strategies to welcome an increasing number of Chinese tourists to Laos this year.

Lao Phattana News reports that the Tourism Planning and Development Division of the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism organized a meeting on Friday to discuss plans to welcome Chinese visitors so as to increase annual tourist figures for Laos.

To that effect, Ms. Phonemaly Inthaphome, Head of the Tourism Planning and Development Division said at the meeting that the department plans to make cross-border travel on the Laos-China Railway more efficient and hassle-free for visitors.

The department will improve upon international checkpoints, address the issue of train ticket purchases, and create a 3-minute video promoting Lao tourism in Chinese, as well as provide training to tour guides in Laos to speak in Chinese.

To facilitate tourist navigation, prominent tourist attractions and signage along national roads and the Laos-China Railway will be prominently displayed in Lao, Chinese, and English languages.

In addition, the meeting addressed the risk and prevention of the Zero-Dollar Tourism scheme among Chinese tourists visiting Laos.

Deputy Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Mr. Ounethouang Khaophanh, said during the meeting that the Chinese market is very lucrative in terms of generating tourism revenue, and many countries have set various policies in place to specifically welcome Chinese tourists and Laos should follow suit.

He added that the Lao government has focused on improving tourism products, modernizing the tourism industry, and adapting it to the Chinese market based on the current potential of tourism resources and Lao customs.

Laos welcomed 1,022,727 Chinese tourists in 2019, representing 21% of all visitors, and the country recorded 45,249 Chinese visitors in 2022, according to Mr. Ounethouang. According to the latest tourism figures, 223,350 Chinese visitors came to Laos from January to April this year after China reopened its borders in early 2023.