The Lao government considers tourism as its top priority in revitalizing the economy and the country is preparing to welcome an influx of foreign visitors in 2023, a senior official has said.
"We need to improve facilities so we can accommodate more tourists this year and ensure that tourism makes a strong contribution to economic growth," the Lao National Radio on Wednesday quoted Lao Deputy Prime Minister Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune as saying during a Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism's meeting.
Kikeo called for officials to maximize the potential offered in Laos with the opening of the China-Laos Railway in 2021 and the reopening of the Laos-China border on Jan. 8 after China optimized its COVID-19 strategy.
Kikeo stressed that tourism-related businesses must improve their services and tourist attractions, as well as diversify tourism products and activities in response to travelers' needs and expectations.
According to the report, the Lao government pointed out the huge potential of the country to develop natural, cultural, historical and agricultural tourism sites. Laos has been ranked by several media organizations as one of the world's top travel destinations for 2023. In recent years, dozens of new tourist attractions have opened, creating job opportunities for local people.
According to government figures, Laos currently has more than 3,000 hotels and guesthouses, which offer 67,370 rooms. The figure includes 759 hotels with 27,941 rooms and 2,331 resorts and guesthouses with 39,357 rooms. There are also 33 food gardens, 2,994 restaurants and 140 entertainment venues.
In 2022, more than 1.68 million tourists made trips to Laos, equaling 85.5 percent of the target set for the year and generating more than 219 million U.S. dollars in revenue.