Laos to turn tourism into a pillar of its economy

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Laos expects to host 4.5 million foreign vacationers this year and to receive close to 8 million dollars in revenues.
According to the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, a policy is underway to encourage the sector to become the country’s second largest source of hard currency after mining.

The government put into action a comprehensive development program that includes the increase and improvement of infrastructure with local and foreign investment, the encouragement of major tourist destinations and a more varied cultural offer, explained sector Minister, Bosengkham Vongdala.

For his part, Laos Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith pointed out that the issuance of electronic visas at Wattay International Airport and Friendship Bridge 1 (border with Thailand) was activated on an experimental level in order to implement this mechanism throughout the country.

The greatest numbers of tourists to Laos come from Thailand (almost half of the total), Vietnam and China (more than 800,000 annually in each case).

Industry authorities plan to do what is necessary to increase these figures, but they also look to the Americas and Europe, where the main markets are the United States and France, with around 50,000 and 40,000 visitors, respectively.

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