Thailand proposes tourism package with Laos

Thailand proposes tourism package with Laos

Tourists pedal through the old Lao capital of Luang Prabang. Thailand proposed stronger tourism links with Laos at talks between the Thai and Lao prime ministers on Wednesday. (Photo by Pongpet Mekloy)
Tourists pedal through the old Lao capital of Luang Prabang. Thailand proposed stronger tourism links with Laos at talks between the Thai and Lao prime ministers on Wednesday. (Photo by Pongpet Mekloy)

Thailand and Laos will work on a joint master plan on tourism to boost the number of travellers to the region.

The plan for linked tourism will be based on the concept of two countries-one destination, enabling visitors to Thailand to expand their vacation to neighbouring Laos by promoting it as a joint package.

It was proposed at talks between Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and visiting Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at Government House on Wednesday.

Thailand wants the joint tourism plan to be ready for the next Thai-Lao Joint Commission meeting, government spokesman Weerachon Sukondhpatipak said. The meeting, to be hosted by Laos, is due before the end of this year.

The idea is in line with the Tourism and Sports Ministry's policy to set Thailand as a travel centre for visitors to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, to keep the momentum of its booming tourism sector.

Almost 30 million tourists came to Thailand last year and the Tourism Authority of Thailand expects 4 million more this year.

Tourism has become a key business sector for Laos due to its increasing popularity with foreign tourists. Only 2.7 million people visited Laos in 2011, but the figure leaped to 4.3 million last year. Luang Prabang is the most popular destination, with the old capital drawing more than 80% of tourists visiting Laos.

The visit is Mr Thongloun's first to Thailand since he became prime minister in April.

Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, accompanied by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, reviews the honour guard at Government House on Wednesday, at the start of his two-day visit to Thailand. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on labour cooperation covering labour protection and legal movement of workers.

They agreed to open more border checkpoints, while Gen Prayut said the issue of unsettled border demarcation would not be allowed to obstruct border development between the two countries.

Mr Thougloun will end his two-day visit to Thailand on Thursday after delivering a speech and receiving an honourary doctorate in business management at the Khon Kaen campus of Rajamangala University of Technology Isan.


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