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Laos to promote tourism in Europe

Lao travel agents seek European markets

The largest ever delegation of Lao travel agents will head for Europe next week to promote the Lao tourism industry.

The Lao Association of Travel Agents will join forces with the Lao National Tourism Administration (LNTA) to take part in one of the world's most important travel trade fairs from March 5 to 9 in Berlin , Germany .

Photo: Plain of Jars, Laos

The delegation will be led by the President of the LNTA and Minister to the Prime Minister's Office, Mr Somphong Mongkhonvilay.

To date 11,000 companies and organisations from more than 180 countries have registered to take part in the travel fair, where 26 halls cover a display area of around 150,000 square metres. More than 100,000 trade visitors and over 8,000 travel writers will be there, according to a press release from the association.

Photo: Blue lagoon in Khammouane province, Laos

“Targeting tourism growth from Europe is an important priority for our association. We have been assisted by the European Union's Asia Invest II programme to develop market intelligence and train members in marketing techniques,” said the association's President, Ms Vayakone Bodhisane.

“The strong interest in this event shows that good progress is being made. Member companies are paying their own travel costs to attend, illustrating the importance they attach to this initiative,” Ms Vayakone said.

Many Lao travel agents will continue their journey to France to attend Le Monde รก Paris at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles the following week.

This is the first time members of the association will accompany the LNTA, according to association Manager Souksamone Patthammavong.

Wat Sisaket, Vientiane, Laos

Thirteen association members will be represented at the fair. Their stands will feature tourism information and exhibit handicrafts that they will bring with them.

Last year a record number of European tourists visited Laos , with arrivals recorded at 147,682. This was an increase of 6 percent over arrivals in 2006, according to LNTA statistics.

The Asia Invest II programme is assisting the cost of a Lao booth at the travel fair, including training and public relations. A seminar on the event was held at the LNTA earlier this month, with inputs from Germany 's Chartered Institute of Marketing experts, according to the press release.

The Netherlands Development Organisation and Leeds Metropolitan University of the UK are partners in supporting the Lao Association of Travel Agents in the three year Asia Invest II programme ‘Marketing Responsible Tourism in Laos ', it stated.

By Vientianetimes

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