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Lao tourism operator targets nature lovers from Vietnam

A leader in Laos’ tourism industry is setting his sights on Vietnamese tourists, who he says like to come to Laos to marvel at the country’s natural beauty.
Member of the Board of Directors of the Guide Association, Mr Inthy Deuansavanh, who owns Green Discovery Laos, told Vientiane Times “Indeed, the strong point of Lao tourism, particularly in Vangvieng, is the stunning natural environment.”

 

“In my opinion, many Vietnamese people don’t know much about the kind of natural wonders on offer in Laos. I’ve learnt that in Vietnam many people like nature. They like trekking and learning about how local people make a living.”
“In Vietnam, nature-based tourism is growing very quickly and involves students, businesspeople, and middle-class families. This is the market we want to penetrate,” he said.
Mr Inthy said that although many foreign tourists had come to Laos following the reopening of the country on May 9, the number of arrivals was still less than 10 percent of pre-pandemic figures.
Many people are not travelling beyond neighbouring countries and most of the foreign tourists coming to Laos at present are from Thailand, he said.
“It could take at least a year for visitor numbers to normalise so long as there’s not another pandemic,” said Mr Inthy, who is also a board member of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
At present, nature lovers from Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia constitute the bulk of visitors to Laos.
“To attract this kind of visitor from Vietnam, we need to devise special activities such as sports contests and trail running. This would allow tourists to explore nature and we plan to organise a trail run in November,” he said.
“To be successful, we need to partner with tour companies in Vietnam as well as popular websites and influential people to promote Laos’ nature-based attractions to the Vietnamese.” 
Vangvieng, a popular tourist hotspot, used to be a top destination for Western backpackers before Koreans and other Asians discovered the riverside retreat between 2016 and 2018.
The area is popular for its outdoor activities, such as kayaking, rock climbing, trekking, cycling, and exploring caves.
Mr Inthy said “When Covid restrictions are lifted in China, we will focus on Chinese nature lovers and encourage them to come to Laos.”
“The strength of Laos is its natural environment, so we need to ensure that our tourism information campaign reaches the target groups.” One of the main challenges for Laos is limited funding to promote the country to international visitors. As a result, many people still don’t know about Laos and its magnificent landscapes.
Mr Inthy said tourism campaigns need to be conducted in a way that ensures people are made aware of the glories of nature to be found in Laos.

By Somsack Pongkhao
 (Latest Update June 10, 2022)


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