Laos, Malaysia discuss tourism boosting

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VIENTIANE,JULY.(KPL)- Tour representatives of Laos last Friday met their Malaysian counterparts in Vientiane to discuss ways to boost the tourism between the two countries.
The meeting was designed to enable travel agents and representatives from the travel trade industry from both counties to meet and exchange their business plans with the view to increase the two –ways tourism exchanges between our two countries, according to Malaysian Ambassador to Laos Dato Than Tai Hing.
He said that the increase in the interaction through people-to- people’s contacts between citizens of Laos and Malaysia would certainly contribute to the overall enhancement of bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Since the low-cost airline Air Asia started its direct air service to Vientiane in December 2007, Laos and Malaysia have seen a significant increase in number of two-way travel between the two countries.
In 2010, the number of Lao tourists visited Malaysia was around 38,000 as compared to 35,000 in 2009. Tourist arrival from Lao PDR to Malaysia is expected to exceed 40,000 this year. The figure for Malaysian tourists’ arrival in the Lao PDR increased 11% from 14,000 in 2009 to about 15,500 last year.
“Laos has great potential for future socio-economic growth as it has vast reserves of renewable energy supply from the hydro electric power plants that would become one of its main sources of foreign exchange earning in the future,” said Mr. Dato.
Last year, foreign tourist arrivals in Laos reached 2.5 million and the number is expected to exceed 3.5 million by 2015.
Laos is preparing itself to welcome Visit Laos Year in 2012 in which it will also host the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF).
Malaysia has launched Malaysia My Second Home Programme to allow people from all over the world who fulfill certain criteria, to stay in Malaysia as long as possible on social visit pass with a multiple entry visa.