LAOS, Feb 20 (Vientiane Times/ANN) -- Laos has been named second runner-up in the Top Country rankings in the UK’s Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards 2020, behind Namibia and Peru.
The ranking should be a huge fillip to Laos’ tourism industry. It is the first time Laos has been awarded the second runner-up spot in the magazine’s Top Country awards.
The award was accepted by the Lao ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr Phongsavanh Sisoulath.
Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Soun Manivong, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday the award would raise Laos’ profile and more people would get to know about the country and its beauty.
The Top Country awardees are decided by votes from more than 8,500 Wanderlust readers online. Laos received 96.25 percent of the votes.
In previous years Laos has received awards for Best City and Top City. Luang Prabang received the Best City award eight times and placed in the top ten on other occasions since 2006, according to the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
The Wanderlust Readers’ Travel Awards are based on readers’ travels from December 2018 to November 2019. The results are based on an average satisfaction score (converted to a percentage) rather than the number of votes cast. The full results can be seen at www.wanderlusttravelawards.co.uk
In a bid to attract more visitors, Laos hosted Visit Laos Year 2018 and Visit Laos-China Year 2019.
These tourism promotion events featured a range of colourful activities while infrastructure was upgraded in provinces across the country and services were improved. Some provinces lowered their food prices and added new dishes to restaurant menus.
More than 4.7 million visitors came to Laos last year, an increase of 14.44 percent over 2018.
This year the government is targeting domestic tourism and is encouraging local residents to explore their country.
This initiative is part of the national socio-economic development plan for 2020. The government hopes to attract about 4.7 million foreign visitors and generate more than US$900 million in revenue from tourism.
As of 2018, Laos had 670 hotels, 2,432 guesthouses and resorts, 2,646 restaurants and 305 entertainment venues, according to the ministry’s Tourism Development Department. Laos has numerous officially designated tourist attractions including 1,318 nature-based sites, 596 places of cultural interest, and 294 places of historical significance.