Laos Targets Global Audience for ‘Visit Laos Year 2024’

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Traditional performances at the opening of of Visit Laos Year 2024 on 23 November 2023. (Photo: The Laotian Times)

In a bid to enhance international tourism in Laos, the government has reached out to countries across the world, extending invitations for their support of “Visit Laos Year 2024.” This nationwide tourism campaign seeks to draw more visitors, ultimately contributing to Laos’ economic growth.

With this objective in mind, the country is specifically focusing on its Chinese neighbors, capitalizing on their geographical proximity and the recently developed transportation infrastructure connecting the two nations.

The plea was made during a meeting on 7 December in Vientiane Capital that focused on fostering Laos-China tourism collaboration, aligning with the Belt and Road Initiative’s objectives.

Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department, Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Khom Douangchantha, emphasized the growing influx of Chinese tourists and encouraged Chinese businesses to offer tailored Lao tourism programs for a successful Visit Laos Year 2024.

The inauguration of the Laos-China railway has not only enhanced travel options but also fostered reciprocal visits between Laos and China. This development has also enticed visitors from various other countries across the region.

Additionally, major airlines like Lao Airlines and China Eastern Airlines now provide direct flights connecting key cities in both nations, such as Vientiane Capital in Laos and Guangzhou, as well as Kunming in China.

The Lao government has further sought support on a global scale, focusing not only on China but also on neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam. In the first nine months of 2023, tourists from these nations claimed the top two spots among international visitors to Laos.

With nearly 1 million Thai tourists already having visited Laos during this period, the numbers are poised to soar in the coming years. The anticipated launch of the first train service connecting Nong Khai station to the newly built Vientiane (Khamsavath) station in 2024 is expected to significantly amplify cross-border tourism.

Laos also aims to attract more visitors from neighboring Vietnam. In a strategic move, Lao Airlines recently signed up for a partnership with Vietjet, Vietnam’s top low-cost airline, to enhance cooperation in passenger and cargo travel. The collaboration was initiated in early December, and Vietjet plans to introduce a direct flight route between Vientiane Capital and Ho Chi Minh City, featuring four weekly flights starting in February 2024.

To cater to both domestic and international tourists, the Lao government is actively pushing for improvements in hotel accommodations, tourism resources, products, transportation, and medical facilities, prioritizing quality, safety, and visitor satisfaction.

Visit Laos Year 2024 stands as a comprehensive tourism promotion initiative, highlighting the country’s cultural, historical, and natural wonders. The Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism, in collaboration with provinces nationwide, has curated a diverse calendar of 79 events, featuring 14 national-level and 65 local events. Tourists can leverage this calendar to plan their visits.

Anticipated as a catalyst for economic growth, Visit Laos Year 2024 is expected to attract 2.7 million foreign visitors and generate USD 401 million in revenue, according to the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism. The government envisions widespread benefits, particularly for businesses in the tourism sector.