Under the theme “A Paradise of Lao Culture, Nature and History”, Visit Laos Year 2024 officially kicked off on 23 November in Vientiane Capital, featuring 79 events nationwide.
With the goal of attracting over 2.7 million international tourists in 2024, generating USD 401 million, and 2.9 million tourists in 2025, Laos is poised to share its cultural treasures and boost its economy.
At the opening ceremony at That Luang Square on Thursday evening, Suanesavanh Vignaket, the Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, said that tourism plays a key role in Laos’ economy and growth. In 2022, the service sector was the fastest-growing in the country, accounting for 37 percent of Laos’ GDP.
Suanesavanh also highlighted some important steps the country has to take to ensure the success of the 2024 tourism campaign, including coordinating with both national and provincial committees and the people of Laos for public functions as listed in the tourism events calendar for 2024.
The Lao government is also undertaking plans to enhance facilities, diversify tourism products, improve service quality, and promote Visit Laos Year 2024 through media and international tourism exhibitions.
In line with the ASEAN Framework on Sustainable Tourism Development in the Post-COVID-19 Era, the country aims to attract international tourists by promoting eco-friendly and sustainable practices such as promoting local culture, lifestyles, and businesses, as well as minimizing the negative environmental and social impacts. The initiative also aims to foster job opportunities and income generation for local communities.
“I would like to urge the entire party and state, armed forces, business operators, and people of all ethnic groups in Laos to join hands in hosting Visit Laos Year by providing services to visitors from around the world with warm smiles and open hearts,” said Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone at the event.
As he spoke to the public, PM Sonexay also invited national and international actors to unite in showcasing Laos’ rich cultural heritage and traditional values on the international tourism market.
“This is an opportunity to showcase Laos’ rich culture and traditions, create a memorable experience for visitors, and encourage them to visit Laos in the future,” he added.
Along with Visit Laos Year 2024, Laos will also assume ASEAN chairmanship starting at the beginning of January 2024, which will force Laos to host several significant events, including the 44th and 45th ASEAN Summits, the ASEAN Tourism Forum, and other ASEAN-related meetings, expecting to draw more visitors.
In the past, the country has organized three earlier editions of Visit Laos Year, initially in 1999-2000, followed by events in 2012, and once again in 2018.
Additional Reporting by Jonathan Meadley