Protection of the country’s national parks and cultural traditions will be strengthened with the government’s commitment to the National Green Growth Strategy.
The 2030 strategy, which was unveiled earlier this month, provides a pathway for the mainstreaming of environmentally-friendly policies into the programmes of all government departments and sectors.
Among these, tourism has been listed as a key sector to drive the green and sustainable development of the country in the coming years.
Development in the tourism sector necessarily means protecting and conserving the natural, historical and cultural sights that draw visitors here in the first place.
Endorsed by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on January 31, the strategy makes reference to Laos’ abundant waterfalls, forests, caves and temples as well as the country’s fine traditions and harmonious way of life.
But alongside conservation measures the government must improve infrastructure and services around key tourist attractions. This includes better roads and transport options, and higher standards in hotel and restaurant services.
Tourism-related businesses will also be encouraged to efficiently consume energy and to use environmentally-friendly products whenever possible. The efforts of tourism businesses will make a significant contribution to the protection of natural resources and the environment, the strategy says.
Other key measures to ensure sustainable green growth include the government committing to the equitable distribution of profit and incomes in the tourism industry. This will ensure local communities get just rewards from the benefits that development of the sector brings.
Strategy makers believe that nature and culture based tourism development will help to protect the country’s natural resources and say it will also generate increased revenue due to the increasing number of people who will come to see the nation’s treasures.
According to a report from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Laos has huge potential for tourism development. The country has 2,237 officially designated tourist sites, of which 575 have been defined as cultural sites while the rest are either of natural or historical significance.
Although Laos has a huge number of fascinating places to visit, only 366 sites have any visitor facilities. Many opportunities exist for local and foreign entrepreneurs wanting to invest in an area with such potential for growth.
In 2018, Laos welcomed more than 4 million tourists. This year being Visit Laos-China Year, it is expected there will be an upturn in the number of Chinese taking holidays in Laos.