By Siladda Souliyong
On top of this, the government expects to attract about 4.7 million international visitors in 2020 and generate revenue of more than US$900 million.
Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Soun Manivong, told Vientiane Times his department would be stepping up efforts to target domestic tourists through various media channels.
“A plan to encourage Lao people to travel within the country was approved in the national socio-economic development plan for 2020, and the ministry will focus on increasing promotional activities,” he said.
“Officials will hold a workshop to discuss the promotional campaign and consult with tourism operators to prepare facilities for visitors,” he added, saying that an exact figure for next year’s domestic visitor target has yet to be set.
Ms Linda Soukkhaphone, a resident of Donedeng village in the capital’s Chanthabouly district, told Vientiane Times authorities should create new colourful activities at tourist sites and upgrade access roads to attract more visitors.
Another Lao traveller, who asked not to be named, said service at tourist sites should be improved and food prices kept affordable as many well-known sites were quite expensive. Visit Laos Year 2018 boosted both domestic and foreign visitor numbers and each province prepared activities such as festivals and incorporated new activities at tourist sites. Visitor arrivals topped 4.1 million in 2018, up 8.2 percent compared to 2017, according to the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Officials from both nations concluded Visit Laos-China Year 2019 activities last week with provincial authorities improving service quality and monitoring the price of food, accommodation and fees at tourist attractions, while many services at border crossings were enhanced.
In the first nine months of this year, more than 3.4 million people vacationed in Laos, up 11 percent on last year.
More than 756,900 Chinese visitors came to Laos, an increase of about 26 percent, according to the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.