The Mekong Tourism Forum was officially opened in Luang Prabang province on June 7 under the presidency of Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Bosengkham Vongdara.
The forum was attended by over 300 representatives of states, international organisations and the private sector from the Greater Mekong Sub-region, Asia Pacific and the UN World Tourism Organisation.
This is the 2nd time Laos is hosting the Mekong Tourism Forum under the theme: Prosper with Purpose. The first forum was held in Champassak Province in 2011.
The participants discussed the development, marketing and promotion of travel within the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and exchanged and shared experiences in the tourism industry.
The GMS includes Laos, Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Mr Bosengkham said at the opening ceremony that the GMS has a high potential for tourist attractions to be further developed as colourful, high quality tourism destinations through the uniqueness of customs and traditions of GMS countries.
Laos is currently preparing to launch its Visit Laos Year 2018 next year, he added.
Programme Officer of UN World Tourism Organisation Christine Brew said that Asia and the Pacific continued to drive the sector’s expansion by leading growth in international tourist arrivals and that the region saw international arrivals increase by 25 million in 2016 to reach 309 million, with a huge growth of 9 percent, making the region’s share of international tourists 25 percent of the world’s total.
In 2016, the number of domestic and international tourist arrivals to Luang Prabang was 627,315, of which 455,050 were international visitors. The total annual revenue from tourism was estimated at over US$195 million, according to Governor of Luang Prabang Khamkhanh Chanthavisouk.
Source: Lao News Agency