By Saly Phimphinith, Director-General of the Tourism Marketing Department in the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism
Laos has had a great response from buyers, sellers and media to Asean Tourism Forum 2013, which takes place in Vientiane’s Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Centre January 22-24, 2013.
It looks like we’ll have the highest number of corporate booths achieved by the event since its start in 1981. More than half the buyers attending are new.
Now in its 32nd year, the ATF TRAVEX 2013, seems likely to welcome over 1,000 exhibitors who will occupy 496 booths. New sellers will amount to about 35%. The TRAVEX buyer-seller show will feature about 75 corporate booths.
This is good news for ASEAN Tourism as we unite, hand in hand, to conquer the future – especially the road to ASEAN Economic Integration in December 2015.
We have very clear objectives for ATF2013: to project ASEAN as an attractive, multi-faceted single destination; create and increase awareness of ASEAN as a highly competitive regional tourist destination; attract more tourist to ASEAN member countries; promote intra-ASEAN travel; and strengthen cooperation among the various sectors of the ASEAN tourism industry.
Laos is honoured to use ATF 2013 to showcase our destination. In our landlocked country with great natural resources and a peaceful people, we are constantly enhancing our service standards in the tourism industry. We have begun to categorize hotels and guesthouses. We are spreading good news about our community-based tourism so that we can better create wealth in rural areas. We are delighted to give ATF TRAVEX delegates an insight into the beauty of Laos through the ATF pre-show city tours and post-show tours.
Our post-ATF tours to both Luang Prabang and Pakse/Kong are fully booked – such is the interest in Laos as an emerging ecological and cultural destination.
ATF 2013 attracted close to 1,100 buyer registrations, out of which about 390 quality buyers will be hosted. Over 50 non-hosted buyers will also join in. The forum will have buyers from new markets such as Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Ireland, Israel, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan.
Despite our small population, Laos is providing the largest-ever seller participation at ATF. And I’m pleased to report that international media registrations will be over 150, of which 78 are hosted.
All in all, I fully believe that the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2013 will be a great success for both ASEAN Tourism objectives and for destination Laos. Please join us at www.atflaos.com.
See you in Vientiane!