Laos Readies to Chair ASEAN, Host Regional Meetings

Laos Aids Timor-Leste in Building Capacity to ASEAN Accession 
Flags from the bloc's member countries. (Photo: Pixabay)

As Laos gears up to assume the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2024, the country is set to host a series of regional meetings, including the Foreign Ministerial Retreat on 28-29 January in the historic city of Luang Prabang.

The retreat, the first in a series of hundreds of meetings planned throughout the Lao chairmanship, will be chaired by Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith. The primary agenda is to map out the overall ASEAN strategy for the year ahead, aligning with the theme “ASEAN: Enhancing Connectivity and Sustainability,” as announced by Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone during the handover ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 7 September.

In addition to diplomatic and economic priorities, the Lao chairmanship will also highlight cultural and environmental aspects. The role of ASEAN culture and the arts will be promoted for inclusion and sustainability, with a focus on women, children, health, and environmental cooperation to expedite the region’s socio-economic recovery.

Parallelly, preparations are underway for the 27th ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ Meeting and the 42nd ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) scheduled to take place in Vientiane on 22-27 January. The Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism (MICT) has established a preparatory committee tasked with venue selection, drafting invitations, and organizing a comprehensive tourism program for the delegates.

While security arrangements are being finalized, the committee is working closely with travel companies to create itineraries for delegates to explore other provinces in Laos. 

The ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ Meeting and ATF are anticipated to attract approximately 1,000 participants. The committee is working on budget allocation and is committed to ensuring the success of the events, with a broader goal of promoting tourism in Laos and the region.