Efforts Underway to Enhance Tourism Standards in Laos

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Tourists visiting Kuangsi Falls in Luang Prabang Province. (Photo: Xinhua News)

The Lao government, along with stakeholders in the tourism sector, is increasing efforts to elevate tourism standards with the aim of attracting more visitors to the country.

During a meeting held on 13 February to review the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism’s achievements in 2023 and outline plans for 2024, Lao Deputy Prime Minister Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune urged collaboration between the public and private sectors to enhance tourist attractions, visitor amenities, and services provided by hotels and restaurants.

Emphasizing the importance of quality services, Deputy PM Kikeo stressed the need for diversification of tourism products, with a focus on activities that showcase the cultural richness of Laos’ ethnic groups, as well as the promotion of agritourism.

Deputy PM Kikeo also raised awareness of existing challenges in Lao tourism, especially issues with many tourism aspects that lack coordination and do not generate significant revenue for the government.

On the other hand, Lao local residents have also urged the government to enhance road conditions across the country to facilitate better access for visitors to reach tourist destinations.

Despite challenges, progress has been made over the past year in the development, management, and promotion of various forms of tourism, including natural, historical, cultural, and agricultural tourism. Infrastructure and facilities in some areas have also been upgraded to connect more effectively with local facilities.

This year, many tourism-related businesses across Laos have also shown dedication to improving services to meet ASEAN tourism standards. On 13 February,  Lao tourism business operators were honored for meeting the standards set by ASEAN across three categories. Notably, the awards included 45 recognitions for the ASEAN Green Hotel Standard, 6 awards for the ASEAN MICE Venue Standards, and 1 award for ASEAN Sustainable Tourism.

Additionally, during the recent ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Vientiane Capital in late January, Laos was also honored with 20 ASEAN Tourism Standard Awards, out of the total 192 awards given to entities across the bloc.

During the ATF, government officials and industry representatives from ASEAN nations also gathered to explore strategies for promoting sustainable tourism, leveraging social media for marketing purposes, and tapping into the potential of adventure tourism.

To further boost the tourism sector, the Lao government has also launched the Visit Laos Year 2024 campaign, with many provinces and local villages set to welcome visitors from around the world to discover the country’s wonders.

With ambitious targets set by the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Laos aims to welcome over 6 million domestic and international tourists in 2024.