VIENTIANE (Xinhua): Provincial authorities across Laos are making preparations to welcome a higher influx of foreign visitors during Laos' chairmanship of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) next year and as part of Visit Laos Year 2024.
The Lao government considers tourism as its top priority in revitalizing the economy. The government hopes that at least 4.6 million foreign and Lao tourists will travel in the country in 2024, generating a revenue of US$712 million.
The Visit Laos Year 2024 tourism promotion campaign will be officially launched in November. It will bring tourists to Laos and encourage the creation of products that will broaden the scope of tourism and add value to products, as well as improve the quality of services in line with the requirements of target market groups, Laos' Deputy Prime Minister Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune said in a meeting on Sept. 22.
Also at the meeting, Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Suanesavanh Vignaket said that the campaign has scheduled 75 activities, with 14 of them to be held nationwide and 61 in provinces.
In preparation for these events, provincial authorities have made improvements at tourist attractions so as to meet international standards, while signage has been installed on roads that link to neighboring countries and on roads to tourist attractions.
Head of Luang Namtha province's Information, Culture and Tourism Department Somsavath Namintha told media on Thursday that provincial authorities will offer a program of 13 events, as well as improve facilities and standards of service, to impress visitors during Visit Laos Year 2024.
Authorities are also upgrading many tourist sites and raising the skill levels of staff working at hotels, guesthouses and restaurants, hoping to create a good impression on visitors. Meanwhile, infrastructure and facilities at some popular tourist destinations have been upgraded.
The province expects to welcome at least 1 million visitors during Visit Laos Year 2024, generating a revenue of more than US$59 million.
Tourism authorities in Phongsaly province, known as the land of green tea and morning mists, are hoping to attract more than 128,000 tourists during Visit Laos Year 2024. They will organize an ethnic food and tea festival to entice tourists to the remote northern province.
Luang Prabang province is stepping up advertising and promoting tourism through various media channels. Tourist attractions are being improved and visitor facilities added to accommodate foreign tourists and enhance the province's reputation as a worthy tourist destination.
Authorities in provinces of Bolikhamxay and Khammuan also prepared promotion activities and carried out measures to improve facilities and services to attract more visitors.
During a working visit to southern Laos' Champasak province on Oct. 17, Vice President Pany Yathotou instructed local authorities that procedures related to tourism must be modernized and the management and advertising of tourism must be efficient and streamlined to welcome Visit Laos Year 2024.
She also advised provincial authorities to do more to promote the development of tourism resources in ways that compete with the tourism resources of other countries in the sub-region and the world.
Meanwhile, Lao authorities have discussed preparations for the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024, stressing the importance of revising the action plan, creating a travel program for delegates, ensuring the quality of food and environment of the restaurants, and having well-organized entry and exit procedures at border crossings.
The forum is viewed as a golden opportunity for Laos to advertise the country's many exciting tourist destinations to a huge international audience.
Laos is an intriguing destination for foreign visitors keen to explore the country's scenic attractions and observe local lifestyles and traditions.
The government is increasingly emphasizing the country's potential as a nature-based tourist destination. There are also colorful traditions to be observed among Laos' many ethnic groups, while old temples and historical sites are another drawcard.
Almost 1.7 million foreign tourists visited Laos in the first six months of 2023, with Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese nationals topping the list. - Xinhua