Thailand and Laos on Saturday discussed measures to draw more tourists by connecting tourism routes and speeding up the construction of a second Thai-Lao friendship bridge in Pak Chom district of Loei.
Loei provincial governor Tawee Sermpakdeekul, accompanied by his deputy Narong Jeenam, 28th military circle chief Maj Gen Prich Sukantasri and various officials, met Khamphan Sithidampha, the governor of Laos' Vientiane province at S Vangvieng Boutique Hotel on Saturday.
It was the 20th Thai-Lao border security meeting between Loei and Vientiane. Tourism promotion, cultural exchanges and economic, social and security cooperation were discussed.
Following the Thai government's decision to approve a free-visa policy for Chinese visitors, Laos plans to elevate its Muen border town in Vientiane to accommodate the growing number of Chinese tourists travelling to Thailand who might also visit the neighbouring country.
Mr Tawee said Muen town is not far from Pak Chom district in Laos and it can be a gateway to link popular attractions in both Loei and Vientiane, such as a tourism route between Chiang Khan and Pak Chom districts in Loei to Vang Vieng and Feuang districts in Vientiane.
"We have a border checkpoint in Loei for tourists to cross from Pak Chom to Muen but Laos has only a temporary checkpoint. We will ask for cooperation from Laos to upgrade the checkpoint to be a permanent one by the end of this year," he said.
Loei also plans to construct the second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in Pak Chom district. The project will boost tourism, trade, investment and logistics, he said. The first Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in Loei connects Loei's Tha Li district and Kenethao City in Laos.