India, Laos enhance tourism collaboration amid air connectivity talks

Vientiane [Laos], July 1 (ANI): Dotted with heritage sites and scenic locales the South Asian country of Laos has ambitious plans and strategic initiatives to attract more tourists, particularly from India.

Director-General of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Laos, Khom DouangChanta on Monday unveiled ambitious plans for 2024, highlighting diverse tourism offerings and strategic initiatives for visitors to the southeast Asian country.

“This year, we have planned 77 tourism activities from January to December, aiming to showcase the cultural and natural treasures of our capital and 17 provinces,” DouangChanta told reporters, emphasising Laos’ efforts to bolster its appeal as a tourist destination.

Acknowledging India’s significant presence in the global tourism market, DouangChanta noted, “India is a key market, not just globally but also within ASEAN. In 2023, we welcomed nearly 14,000 Indian visitors, and in the first quarter of 2024 alone, more than 4,000 Indians visited Laos.”

DouangChanta underscored the importance of bilateral cooperation between Laos and India in tourism promotion. “Our Ministry of Tourism is actively collaborating with India’s Ministry of Tourism. Together, we participate in forums like the ASEAN Tourism Forum to enhance tourism opportunities,” he explained.

Highlighting their proactive approach, DouangChanta mentioned, “We have invited Indian media to experience Laos’ tourism attractions firsthand. Their positive coverage will help increase awareness and attract more Indian tourists to Laos.”

When asked about air connectivity challenges affecting travel between Laos and India, DouangChanta expressed optimism about future developments. “Effective air connectivity is crucial for tourism. Discussions between Laotian and Indian airlines have been ongoing. We are encouraging closer collaboration to improve connectivity and facilitate travel between our countries,” he elaborated.

Looking ahead, DouangChanta expressed hopes for strengthened airline partnerships. “Our goal is to establish robust connections that will facilitate easier travel for Indian visitors to Laos and vice versa. This will significantly boost tourism exchanges between our nations,” he said.

Laos remains landlocked with China as its northern neighbour, and Vietnam lies to the country’s northeast and east. South of Laos is Cambodia while Thailand is on its west and Myanmar lies on its northwest.