PHNOM PENH, 11 April 2013: Efforts by Laos to join the Thailand-Cambodia single visa scheme could take two to three years to succeed, according to a report in the Phnom Penh Post earlier this week.
Second secretary at the Lao embassy in Cambodia, Manoxay Vilayhane, told the Post that a Lao delegation visited Phnom Penh last week to meet with the department of foreign affairs to learn more about the scheme’s implementation and the revenue share on visa fees.
He said it would to take a couple of years possibly three for Laos to fully participate in the scheme.
BANGKOK, 19 March 2013: Lao PDR’s’ Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ Tourism Development Department reported international arrivals in 2012 soared 22% to close the year at 3.3 million visits.
The report released Monday showed 3,330,072 foreign tourists travelled to Laos, an increase of 22.27% over 2,723,564 visits in 2011.
Overland tourism and visits from ASEAN were the main contributing factors to the double digit growth.
LUANG PRABANG, 8 March 2013: Lanith Luang Prabang (LLP) recently hosted an open house to introduce its new hospitality complex and training centre to some 150 guests, including Lao ministry officials, government department directors, local business owners, and a delegation from Luxembourg along with dignitaries from several neighbouring countries.
Luxembourg Embassy chargé d’affaires Marc Franck and Ministry of Planning and Investment deputy director general, Houmphanh Soukprasith, cut the ribbon to the Luxembourg government-supported facility, which aims to advance service quality in Laos.
Lanith chief technical advisor Peter Semone said: “This open house affords Lanith the opportunity to present Luxembourg’s innovative approach to hospitality training and education. Most important is to handover a fully operational, successful, sustainable social enterprise to Laos.”
VIENTIANE, 31 January 2013: The annual elephant festival in Laos’ Sayabouly province is scheduled 17 to 19 February in Sayabouly district supported financially for the first time by local authorities.
According to a report in Vientiane Times, earlier this week, Elephant Asia, which initiated the event in 2007 is no longer responsible for organising the show. It is also understood that the event will be permanently hosted in Sayabouly district rather than rotating the venue with Hong Sa and Pak Lai districts, a policy that complicated the organisation and also confused visitors in the past.
VIENTIANE, 24 January 2013: Pacific Asia Travel Association used the ASEAN Tourism Forum platform to detail events that it hopes will rehabilitate membership and make it once more a leading voice of Asia Pacific tourism.
The association hosted a networking event, on the ATF opening day, for 150 industry leaders, including senior officials from the Lao PDR’s Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism at the city’s popular Khop Chai Deu restaurant.
PATA CEO, Martin Craigs, used the occasion to reiterate the association’s advocacy role, while suggesting the association could enhance training skills for people entering tourism, especially young workers in developing economies in the Mekong region.
Vientiane, 22 January 2013: Organisers of the ASEAN Tourism Forum claim an overall attendance of 2,000 delegates, comprising 400 heads of National Tourist Organisations (NTOs) and Tourism Ministers, 470 buyers and 997 seller delegates who attend the TRAVEX over the last three days.
Around 140 media representatives are also attending the event.
Occupying an exhibition area of 9,000 sqm, ATF TRAVEX , a three-day travel trade exhibition, has 490 booths representing 354 exhibiting companies from the 10 ASEAN countries.
WASHINGTON, 17 January 2013: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday urged Laos to ensure the safety of a prominent activist, whose mysterious disappearance a month ago has sent chills through civil society.
Clinton, who in July became the first US secretary of state to visit the Southeast Asian nation since the communist victory in 1975, said the United States was deeply concerned for activist and a NGO leader, Sombath Somphone.
“We call upon the Lao government to pursue a transparent investigation of this incident and to do everything in its power to bring about an immediate and safe return home to his family,” Clinton said in a statement.
VIENTIANE, 15 January 2013: Laos and Myanmar moved forward on a long awaited plan to build a friendship bridge across the Mekong River, but firm details on construction and financing have still to be released.
The two countries have been talking through a project that will cross the river that marks the border southwest of Luang Namtha since 2011.
The first report of the bridge was published by Irrawaddy online newspaper, 23 March, 2012, following an official visit of Myanmar’s president to Laos.
BANGKOK, 10 January 2013: The growth in international arrivals to Laos slowed down to 12.01% during the third quarter of 2012, from 16.91% at the end of the second quarter.
According to the Tourism Development Department’s report, January to September, ASEAN remained the largest supplier (market share 81.65%) on 1,973,806 tourists, an improvement of 11.39%. The top suppliers were neighbours Thailand and Vietnam.
Thailand contributed more than half of Laos’ international tourists (market share 58.64%) up 14.22% on 1,417,591 arrivals.
BANGKOK, 9 January 2013: Green Climbers Home, a rock climbing facility in Thakhek, Khammouane province, in Laos, was destroyed by fire during New Year celebrations.
Green Climbers Home co-founder, Tanja Weidner, said the fire was caused when a stray firework ignited the thatched and wooden structure, destroying the homestay facility in minuties.
“We actually ordered harmless confetti bombs, but didn’t realise that there were rockets inside. They looked the same as the confetti bombs that we used last year,” she explained.