The Lao government is set to enhance the quality of tourism services to attract more foreign tourists, especially from China, local daily Vientiane Times reported Monday.
Tourist arrivals in Laos reached 3.86 million in 2017, decreasing from 4.23 million in 2016. This year, the figure is expected to increase to about 5 million.
Meanwhile, the number of Chinese visitors to Laos during 2017 increased by 17 percent to about 639,000.
Some 210,000 people entered Laos via border checkpoints with the other 429,000 entering the country on planes, the Lao daily quoted Deputy Director General of Tourism Marketing Department under Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism Sengsouda Vanouvong as saying at a recent cooperation exchange promoting "Visit Laos Year 2018" in Vientiane.
More than 20 Chinese travel agencies were present at the event. Organizers also invited representatives from Lao government agencies to enable the invited travel agencies to fully understand the regulations and procedures for entry into Laos.
There are about five Lao and Chinese joint venture travel companies in Laos, and China has become the largest foreign business operator of hotels, entertainment venues and restaurants in Laos, Sengsouda said.
The Lao government considers tourism a key sector in driving socioeconomic development and has put a lot of effort into developing infrastructure, particularly the improvement of airports, road links to provinces and other neighboring countries. These steps also provide benefits to the local business sector and attract more foreign investment in tourism sectors.