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Laos targets European tourists as top priorities

Laos is targeting the three European countries of France, England and Germany as the top priority markets for tourists as their economies remain relatively strong and they are easy to cater to.

The Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism Mr Saly Phimphinith told Vientiane Times yesterday that visitors from the three countries also stay longer than those from other countries, thus bringing more income to the tourism sector in Laos.

“Tourists from these three countries mostly use the services of tourism operators and are interested in culture, history and the natural environment, so it is easy for us to do the management,” Mr Saly said.

“Therefore, we have selected these tourists as the top priority market for tourism,” he explained, noting that the number of tourist arrivals from these three countries is less than those from Asia and some other regions.

So, the tourism sector aims to work harder to further promote the major tourism sites in order to attract more tourists from England, France and Germany, he stressed, believing them to be lucrative markets.

This year, tourism officials as well as tourism operators joined the world’s biggest tourism fair, the Messe Berlin (ITB) in Germany from March 6-10. Tourism industry specialists from more than 180 countries around the world attended the fair, so Laos had to do its best to stand out from the crowd.

“To be more attractive and better promote our country, we should be more clear in the planning of traditional festivals and have a better listing of festival programmes in order to have a permanent schedule which tourists can peruse and know when to come,” Mr Saly said.

According to 2012 statistics from the Tourism Development Department, the market share for Europe decreased from 6.67 percent in 2011 to 5.58 percent in 2012, while arrivals from Italy and Spain fell by 10 percent, reflecting their financial difficulties.

However, the European market in the three countries of France, England and Germany increased slightly, with arrivals from France up by 6 percent and Germany by 10 percent, while visitor numbers from England remained stable.

In 2012, there were almost 47,000 tourists from France, more than 35,500 travellers from England and almost 23,500 from Germany.

According to official statistics, the highest number of tourist arrivals in Laos come from Thailand, with over 1.9 million tourists from the neighbouring country crossing the border in 2012 (a 58 percent of market share) increasing from 1.5 million people the previous year.

Source: Vientiane Times

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