The Travel Training Centre in Vientiane aims to increase the number and quality of tour guides in response to the surge in tourist arrivals in Laos.

Training courses at the centre have expanded, with the number of topics covered increasing from 9 to 24. This reflects the growing quality of tourism services required to meet the demands of the increasing number of visitors and the need to promote the industry as a whole.

Director of the centre, Mr Veunxay Malavong, told the Vientiane Times that tourism has seen a steady increase recently, and it has become necessary to provide more tour guides.

Since starting the courses in 1990, the centre has produced over 2,000 qualified tour guides. Its courses enable trainees from travel companies and students from the National University of Laos to learn more about both the theoretical and practical aspects of the industry.

During courses, trainees visit the That Luang stupa, Horphakeo, Sisaket museum, Vientiane City Wall and the Xieng Khuan Buddha Park among other places. Here they learn more about these important sites and how to answer the questions that tourists are likely to ask.

Tourist arrivals rose from over 1.2 million in 2009 to 3.3 million in 2012, generating income of more than US$500 million.