Winning the World’s Best Tourist Destination Award for 2013 could lead to a substantial surge of international tourist arrivals in Laos, contributing to the growth of the country’s economy and poverty reduction among local people.

The government has put up banners around Vientiane declaring Laos as the World's Best Tourist Destination for 2013.
The government has put up banners around Vientiane
declaring Laos as the World’s Best Tourist Destination for 2013.
Tourism officials and businesspeople are optimistic that the award given by the European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) today will help the world know Laos better, and all the charms and beauties it has to offer.

Acting President of the Lao Association of Travel Agents (LATA), Mr Khamtanh Keungpannha, told Vientiane Times yesterday that Laos is rich in natural, historical and cultural tourism sites but lacks sufficient promotional campaigns abroad.

“Only people who have visited Laos will know how amazing and wonderful our country is,” he said, adding that if the government stepped up its publicity campaign, many more tourists would come to Laos to experience its rich culture and many attractions.

Despite the global economic crisis of 2008, the number of tourist arrivals in Laos continued to rise. In 2010, tourist arrivals reached 2.5 million, before rising to 2.7 million in 2011 and to 3.3 million in 2012.

Many more Chinese nationals are now flocking to Laos, followed by visitors from the Republic of Korea. Meanwhile, marketing efforts are being ramped up to target high-end travellers from long-haul European (UK, France, Germany) and US markets , as well as Asean travellers from Malaysia and Singapore.

The country’s tourism initiatives are clearly focused on the delivery of more English language university courses and increasing private sector investment in the tourism industry.

Although it is land-locked, Laos’ rich cultural and religious heritage, and the vast potential its waterfalls, rivers, caves, mountains and wildlife offer in terms of adventure tourism make Laos a hard to beat destination for nature lovers.

Laos’ tourism authorities recognise that the country’s profile needs to be raised and are directing their focus on achieving greater recognition abroad, as stated by the Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department, Mr Saly Phimphinith.

A delegation from the European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) led by the Council’s Chairman Professor Dr Anton Caragea, is now in Laos to present the Council’s award for ‘World’s Best Tourist Destination for 2013.’

Experts believe the award will help enhance the profile of Laos in the eyes of tourists around the world.

The award presentation ceremony will take place at the Don Chan Palace hotel in Vientiane today and will be attended by numerous high-ranking officials.

The award recognises Laos’ efforts to promote a new concept of community based tourism, which is friendly to nature, has minimal ecological impacts and helps to preserve endangered species and natural biodiversity.

Laos offers tourists not only an outstanding historical and cultural experience but also the possibility to explore nature through many extraordinary places such as the Nam Ngum reservoir, Bolaven Plateau, Four Thousand Islands and Khuang Xi waterfall to name a few.

The aim of the award is to keep spiritual traditions alive, offering possibilities for enriching cultural experiences, and contributing to the growth of a clean, green and sustainable tourism and travel industry.

Source: Vientiane Times
May 09, 2013