What can be done to make visitors feel welcome during Visit Laos-China Year?

It is now Visit Laos-China Year and Laos stands ready to welcome a large number of visitors. Vientiane Times asked some government officials and local residents what they plan to do to help people have an enjoyable stay.

 

Mr Phoudone, Service Deputy Director, Vientiane Administration Office: The main task of our office is to keep the city as clean and green as possible, for the benefit of visitors and locals alike. We have patrols who routinely monitor the tidiness of particular areas.  Teams regularly wash main roads such as Lanexang Avenue, Kaysone Phomvihane Avenue, Samsenthai Road and others in Xaysettha district. Every Saturday we encourage volunteers in each village to do a general tidy up. Furthermore, every Wednesday staff at the Vientiane Administration Office link up with district officials and heads of villages to discuss cleaning issues and needs across the city. Our office has enough vehicles and cleaning equipment to meet multiple needs. Our parks and public gardens are also being maintained by expert gardeners and cleaners. We are proud to welcome visitors during Visit Laos-China Year and hope they enjoy our beautiful city.

Ms Oubon Daravong, an official at the Chanthabouly district Office for Management and Service: A warm welcome to a clean and beautiful country are the things that will persuade overseas visitors to return to Laos a second time. My office is responsible for cleaning 30 villages in Chanthabouly district. Every Wednesday we survey each village, paying particular attention to locations on the main streets. We encourage residents to gather and tidy up their village every Saturday morning. They tend to their gardens and keep the shrubbery tidy, water the roads and check street lighting. There are plans to expand this volunteer project to Sikhottabong, Sisattanak and Xaysettha districts. While the work of volunteers is important, I would like to urge senior officials to try to get a bigger budget for this work. Additional professional maintenance and cleaning crews are needed for our busiest urban areas.

Mr Bo, a government official in Xaythany district: We have to be good hosts to visitors from other countries but before we can do that we have to give them a reason to come. All Lao people can and should promote the country and its tourist attractions. We can post or share photos on social media of the beautiful and interesting places we visit. We have to keep our villages attractive too. Proper disposal of rubbish and planting native flowers and trees improves the ambience of any urban centre. We should warmly greet overseas visitors with a smile as well. If Lao people have skills in other languages like English or Chinese they can help inform and orient travellers to the city.

Ms Khamhou, an employee in Xaythany district: I welcome visitors with a smile and always speak politely to them. In my opinion it’s our food that’s a standout.  If we prepare and package food items attractively, visitors will be absolutely sure to enjoy Laos. We also need to preserve the natural environment and make sure everywhere is clean. Safe roads and good public transport also make a massive difference to the visitor experience. I will try to share interesting photos of Laos on Facebook with my international friends this year. Social media is an easy way to put our country on the map.

By Phouthong Sivongsa
(Latest Update February 11, 2019)


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