January 25, 2024
VIENTIANE – AseanTourism Forum 2024 officially opens in Vientiane
The AseanTourism Forum 2024 officially opened in Vientiane on Wednesday to promote quality and responsible tourism in the post-pandemic era to drive growth in the region.
Taking the theme “Quality and Responsible Tourism – Sustaining Asean Future”, the event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Dr Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune and Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Mrs Suanesavanh Vignaket, ministers from other Asean countries, the Minister of Tourism from Timor Leste, and other delegates.
Prof. Dr Kikeo said that in light of Laos’ chairmanship of Asean this year, the country decided to designate 2024 as Visit Laos Year, during which a wide range of events and activities are planned to promote tourism industry in Laos.
“In 2024, which coincides with the culmination of the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan for 2021-2025, I anticipate that the outcomes of the Asean Tourism Ministers Meeting and the Asean Tourism Conference will serve as a significant milestone in shaping the future direction of the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan for 2026-2030,” he added.
Prof. Dr Kikeo said Laos is ready to work with other Asean members and dialogue partners to promote regional tourism and boost tourist arrivals.
“Laos is prepared to collaborate with other Asean Member States and various Dialogue Partners to cultivate high-quality and sustainable tourism destinations, with the aim of attracting an increasing number of visitors to the Asean region, encouraging longer stays, higher expenditure, and widespread economic benefits for society,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“I am confident that advancing Asean tourism in line with the Asean Vision 2025 will actively contribute to socio-economic development and improve the quality of life for people across the Asean region,” he added.
Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Mrs Suanesavanh Vignaket said this was the third time that the government of Laos had the honour of hosting the Asean Tourism Forum.
The first time was in 2004, the second in 2013, and now the third time of hosting the prestigious event was eventuating under Laos’ chairmanship of Asean in 2024.
The ATF 2024 is taking place amidst the ongoing recovery of the tourism industry in Asean Member States, the Asia-Pacific region, and the international arena, which is gradually rebounding from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mrs Suanesavanh said Laos has received more than 3.4 million foreign tourists, marking a 164 percent rise over 2022. But this figure represents a 29 percent decrease compared to 2019. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 4.7 million foreign tourists visited Laos. She added that Laos is committed to promoting the regional tourism industry.
“Laos aims to continue to promote tourism in Asean member countries and achieve the vision set in the Asean Tourism Strategy Plan for 2025, making Asean a quality, unique, diverse and responsible tourism destination and contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of the Asean people,” she told the opening ceremony.
With these aims in mind, Laos, as the host of the ATF 2024, decided on the theme “Quality and Responsible Tourism – Sustaining Asean Future”.
This theme reflects the desire to ensure the development of sustainable tourism in Asean so that it is strong, efficient and effective at the highest level and encourages regional and global tourists to spend more time in the Asean region.
The concept of increasing cooperation and enhancing Asean ties with external partners, along with maintaining the role and centrality of Asean to achieve the goal of the slogan under Laos’ Asean chairmanship, has been defined as “Increasing the connectivity and strength of Asean”.