DestinationsThis charming destination has plenty to show leisure and trade visitors alike, says Tourism Minister Suanesavanh Vignaket.

Asean Tourism Forum 2024: It’s time for Laos to shine

Luang Prabang National Museum in Laos.
Luang Prabang National Museum in Laos. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/pop_gino
You’re invited to ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024

ATF is taking place in Vientiane, Laos from 22-27 January 2023. Keen to be part of this exciting event?

Find out more here

Laos Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Suanesavanh Vignaket, talks to Travel Weekly Asia about the country’s preparations for ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2024.

It’s exciting that Laos is hosting ATF 2024. What’s new for Laos?

Laos is very proud to be the host of ATF 2024, gearing up for this wonderful event by establishing the committees and secretariat to coordinate with all relevant sectors to identify roles and responsibilities such as the event programming, facility improvement, meeting venues, accommodation, tourist attractions, restaurants, transportation, and reception services to make this ATF successful and achieve the goals.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism has signed the Travex Agreement with ASEANTA (ASEAN Tourism Association) to manage the tourism exhibition for ATF 2024, which is themed “Quality and Responsible Tourism – Sustaining ASEAN Future”.

What makes Laos unique as a destination?

I extend a warm welcome to each of you to visit Laos and personally experience the beauty that our country has to offer.– Suanesavanh Vignaket, Laos Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism

Laos boasts a wealth of natural tourism attractions, steeped in rich traditions and customs, a diverse tapestry of ethnic cultures, friendly and hospitable people, a distinctive culinary heritage, and is home to world heritage sites namely Luang Prabang, Plain of Jars in Xiengkhaung Province, and Vat Phou Temple in Champasak Province.

Moreover, Laos now has the Laos-China Railway to facilitate travel and transportation within the country.

What are the focus areas for tourism development in Laos?

The government of Laos has identified tourism as a key economic sector in the country. To translate this policy into implementation, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism has been focused on enhancing tourism legislation, which not only seeks to improve tourism management but also aims to promote and attract more domestic and international investment.

What are the projections for visitor numbers to Laos in 2023/24?

We expect around 2.5 million international tourists to visit Laos in 2023. For 2024, we expect to welcome around 2.7 million international tourists. Our primary focus remains on the ASEAN member states, which are a major target market for Laos. Following closely are countries within Asia Pacific, including China, South Korea, and Japan. Furthermore, we also receive tourists from Europe, America and the Middle East.

What’s your message to visitors to Laos?

In 2024, Laos will assume the chair of ASEAN Summit, playing host to ATF and launching the Visit Laos Year. The government of Laos has undertaken significant efforts to enhance tourism infrastructure, facilities, transportation, and a diverse range of tourism activities and products, as well as upgrading the quality of tourism services to meet international standards. Taking this opportunity, I extend a warm welcome to each of you to visit Laos and personally experience the beauty that our country has to offer.

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