VIENTIANE, 8 February 2017: Laos’ Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism has called on all tourism agencies to urgently prepare activities for inclusion in Visit Laos Year 2018 calendar.
Vientiane Times quoted the ministry saying promotions for Visit Laos Year should begin in earnest this year.
Tourism minister, Bosengkham Vongdara, said a timetable of monthly events in every province needs to be compiled urgently to show visitors the special features they can enjoy during 2018.
The ministry believes UNWTO will offer support to get the message to all of its member states once plans are finalised.
Laos last held a Visit Laos Year in 1999 focusing on the country’s culture, traditions, ethnic lifestyles, and historical and natural attractions.
The ministry’s deputy minister, Ounthouang Khaophanh, noted that tourism was growing faster than any other sector and tourist arrivals should increase 10% to 14% each year on average.
In 2015, visits topped 4.6 million, up from just 14,400 in 1990, earning USD725 million in tourism related revenue.
In 2016, provisional figures indicate the country welcomed 5 million foreign visitors. This year, it is likely to increase to 5.4 million visits. Forecasts cite visitor targets of 5.9 million in 2018, 6.3 million in 2019, and more than 6.8 million in 2020, and at least 9 million in 2025, the report said.