Vietnam, Laos seek to open cross-border tours

10:03 | 14/08/2017 Society

(VEN) - Based on Vietnam-Laos tourism cooperation potential in recent years, the tourism industries of the two countries are proposing to organize new border gate tours to increase mutual tourism.  

vietnam laos seek to open cross border tours
A significant increase has been recorded in Vietnam-Laos tourist exchange

A significant increase in Vietnam-Laos tourist exchange

Vietnam and Laos started have long cooperated in tourism, signing a number of agreements, including the 1991 Convention on Tourism Cooperation and a Cooperation Plan on Art, Culture and Tourism for the Period of 2016-2020. In addition, the two countries often work closely together in regional forums, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Greater Mekong Sub region (GMS), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and the Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) Asian sub-grouping.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, in 2016 some 137,000 Lao tourists visited Vietnam and nearly one million Vietnamese tourists traveled to Laos.

Border gate tours

To boost tourism cooperation and increase the number to tourists between the two countries, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism organized a conference in Laos introducing Vietnam’s outstanding tourist spots such as Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang and Quang Nam. Also being offered are tours from Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc to Mekong delta provinces to discover the exotic culture of local people and enjoy home stays.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism’s Market Department, transport between the two countries is convenient, with frequent air service from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse – and vice versa.

Some Lao travel agents have also proposed organizing tours by land, through the border gates of the two countries. The border is flanked by nine provinces in Vietnam and 10 provinces in Laos.

Lao tourists would travel from Xamneua (Laos) to Son La–Moc Chau (Vietnam), then to Sa Pa (Lao Cai, Vietnam), the border gate with People Republic of China, Hoa Binh, Hanoi, Nghe An, Quang Binh and Hue. Foreign tourists traveling from Hanoi could pass through the Tay Trang Border Gate in Dien Bien Province to Luang, Prabang, or from Atapur in Kon Tum Province to Vientiane.

According to a representative of the International Cooperation Department of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the Lao Association of Travel Agents haspointed to some difficulties involved in advancing such border tourism projects. Among them are issues relating to migration and immigration, customs procedures, transport regulations, transport signs and banking transactions, and more. Lao businesses have proposed that Vietnam create favorable conditions in customs clearance for tourists and tourism product promotion.

Laos is among Vietnam’s top 15 tourism destinations and Vietnam is ranked second in the number of tourists to Laos. In the first half of this year, Vietnam welcomed 68,000 Lao tourists, an increase of 22 percent from the same period last year.

Hoa Quynh