An amended Tourism Law to preserve tourist sites

Published on July 25, 2013

The National Assembly approves a draft amended Tourism Law

The National Assembly on Wednesday the 24th of July approved a draft amended Tourism Law, aimed at making regulations more comprehensive to stimulate growth in the tourism industry. According to Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Professor Dr Bosengkham Vongdara, the law was expected to boost investment, trade and domestic production while distributing income to local communities.

Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Professor Dr Bosengkham Vongdara, presented the amendments at the ongoing ordinary NA session, where he told parliamentarians it would “create greater confidence and draw in more tourists to visit Laos”.

According the Minister, under the new additions to the law, food safety standards will be set for entertainment venues to ensure patrons’ health. Restaurants and other service units will be required to ensure food and drinks served to guests are hygienic and reasonably priced.

Entertainment venues will also have to offer quality services and a level of safety, convenience and cleanliness, without producing noise, which disturbs those in surrounding areas. Operators of such venues will have to be professionally trained.

The newly-amended law will also prohibit the construction of any facility or undertaking of any actions that could lead to structural changes to preserved sites, however restoration works will be allowed at places like That Luang Stupa and Ho Phra Keo.

Describing the amended law as more comprehensive, the minister said it will serve as a reference to facilitate management of tourism-related affairs including development, advertising and cooperation with foreign countries.

He said the law was expected to boost investment, trade and domestic production while distributing income to local communities.

The new law amends 33 existing articles and adds 11 new articles, bringing the total to 90 articles, while 10 parts and 19 chapters remain unchanged. However the structure of the changes could be altered following recommendations made at Wednesday’s debate.

When many NA members requested the ministry make clear delegation of the management of tourism businesses between the ministry and provincial, district and village authorities. They suggested relevant sectors pay more attention to ensuring safety for visitors, saying it was a critical issue to portraying a reputable image.

It is reported that, the amended law does allow development to take place in areas the government has reserved for tourism industry purposes, such as camping grounds and natural viewpoints. Investors are encouraged to develop tourism business facilities such as hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and trading zones in what the newly added articles describe as “service areas”.

Source: LNTV Lao News in English