IN ANTICIPATION of 2018 being a Visit Laos Year, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism has called on tourism agencies to start preparing activities for inclusion in the official programme.
Bosengkham Vongdara made the call at a meeting this week on information, culture and tourism that was attended by representatives from across the country.
The promotion of Visit Laos Year is expected to begin in earnest |this year, so all the entities involved |are urged to make plans by |coordinating with ministry departments.
A timetable of events for each month of the year in every province should be clearly determined, including every activity, the minister said.
Bosengkham urged every sector to be well prepared for the event. Provincial authorities were asked to seek advice from the relevant ministry department if necessary.
The ministry will notify world tourism organisations of Laos' plans to heavily promote tourism next year through the Visit Laos Year programme.
Bosengkham said Asean nations had been informed of Laos’ plan for the 2018 tourism promotion at a recent meeting in Singapore.
He suggested that the agencies involved consider publishing books for tourists in a number of languages.
A senior official with the Information, Culture and Tourism Department in Borikhamxay province informed this week's annual meeting about the province's popular tourist attractions and traditional festivals, which reflect its culture, natural beauty and lifestyle.
The province plans to focus on these aspects for inclusion in the Visit Laos Year programme.
The Borikhamxay official said the most notable festivals in the province were the Phabat Phonsan and Phathat Phouvieng Choumthong stupa festivals, along with handmade rocket festivals and Hmong festivals. These are big annual celebrations in the province and could attract many tourists, he said.
Laos held its first Visit Laos Year in 1999 and the event was a highly significant milestone in promoting the country's culture, traditions, ethnic lifestyles and historical and natural attractions to global visitors.
Rapidly booming industry
Laos has reaped huge benefits from its Visit Laos Year promotions and has shown itself to be an Asean country that has a rapidly booming tourism industry.
Many tourists flock to the country to explore Laos' charms and fascinating sights, even though the country's infrastructure is not well developed.
ccording to a report by the Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Ounthouang Khaophanh, tourism is growing at a faster rate than any other sector and the number of tourist arrivals is increasing by 10 to 14 percent each year on average.
In 1990 just 14,400 tourists visited and generated over US$725 million in revenue. In 2016, more than five million foreign visitors are estimated to have visited, according to statistics from the tourism sector.
The tourism sector continues to make positive predictions about an increase in tourist arrivals as it sees great potential in this area.
In 2017, it is expected that more than 5.4 million foreign nationals will visit Laos, 5.9 million in 2018 and 6.3 million in 2019.