By Vientiane Times
Asia News Network
LOCA, a Lao startup and a major player in the ride hailing business in Laos, has been selected for the final pitching competition at MIST on October 8-9 in Bangkok.
The co-founder and chief technology officer of LOCA, Souliyo Vongdala, said on Wednesday that tourism is a major contributor to the country’s gross domestic product and that innovative startups will help attract more tourists to Laos thanks to the convenient services they provide.
“For example, LOCA has helped many tourists to get around Vientiane easily and safely. During the day and night, tourists are confident about using LOCA as a means of transport,” he explained.
There are two ride-hailing services in Laos -- LOCA and the Cambodia-based Driveup. These were recently launched and it is expected there would be more in the future.
LOCA is the major ride-hailing service application in Laos and has been operating since early 2018. It has the largest network of more than 300 cars in Vientiane and plans to expand.
The business has grown by 10-30 per cent month-on-month since the service began in 2018. The app is a new tool that tourists can rely on.
Ride-hailing services use online-enabled platforms to connect between passengers and local drivers using their personal vehicles. In most cases, they are a comfortable method for door-to-door transport.
In its third year and with hundreds of alumni, Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism is jointly managed by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and the Mekong Business Initiative.
The initiative is supported by the Australian government and the Asian Development Bank, and organised by UNWTO [World Tourism Organisation] affiliate member Chameleon Strategies.
The MIST meeting will be held in Bangkok alongside a new event -- Travel Startups Asia Forum.
MIST finalists represent two categories: travel tech ventures and social impact enterprises.
The LOCA app will be in the travel tech ventures category along with four similar services -- Ticket 2 Asia from Cambodia, Get Ride from Myanmar, Golf Digg from Thailand, and Go Eat Me from Vietnam.