Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone has met with operators of the Boten Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in northern Laos’ Luang Namtha province to discuss tourism-related preparations for Laos’ chairmanship of ASEAN and Visit Laos Year 2024.
PM Sonexay visited Boten last week where he inspected the management of the Boten International Checkpoint between China and Laos and learned about the zone’s overall development.
The Lao leader said that the zone, which covers three land border crossings between Luang Namtha Province, Laos, and Yunnan Province, China, is a key part of the rapidly growing economic cooperation between the two countries, according to Lao Security News.
While monitoring existing facilities, PM Sonexay stressed that the zone should improve its infrastructure, including tourism-related activities, to attract more tourists.
He specifically mentioned the need for improved facilities at the border crossing, such as an immigration building and booths, a section for the entry of trucks and privately owned cars, a goods checkpoint, and immigration facilities for passengers on the Laos-China Railway.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Laos has been growing steadily since the start of the year, due to the Lao government’s prioritization of boosting the tourism sector and the Laos-China Railway, which has become a vital piece of tourism infrastructure.
Lao authorities estimate that around 368,000 Chinese travelers will visit Laos in 2023, a 21 percent increase from last year.
Additionally, the Visit Laos Year 2024 tourism promotion campaign is expected to be launched in November, with the goal of attracting at least 4.6 million foreign and Lao tourists in 2024.