Though Vietnam and Laos both boast magnificent scenery, tourism development along their shared border does not match their true potential, tourism insiders say.
With a 2,300-kilometer-long borderline, Vietnam and Laos have 10 pairs of international border gates and a series of nearby nature reserves, national forests and cave systems with pristine landscapes ideal for caravan and overland tours.
Nguyen Anh Tuan, general director of travel agency Ant Travel based in the northern province of Dien Bien, said many travel firms in border provinces and even in major cities have shown little interest in developing typical tourism products along the border area between Vietnam and Laos.
There are currently a few travel agencies organizing low-cost tours from Hanoi, Da Nang to Pakse, Vientiane and Luang Prabang in Laos, he told a seminar late last week.
Tuan said complicated and inconsistent administrative procedures to get access to the border area make it difficult for travel firms to launch tourism products.
Poor traffic infrastructure and limited accommodation facilities are also a major concern for travel firms, Tuan added.
Ta Thi Tu Uyen, deputy director of product development at Vietravel, proposed the Vietnamese government simplify entry procedures for foreign tourists at international border gates.
Vietnam needs to improve traffic infrastructure in the border area and build routes connecting not only Vietnam with Laos, but also to Southeast Asian countries, she added.
Since both countries reopened their borders to tourists, Vietnam has received 47,000 visitors from Laos while over 50,000 Vietnamese traveled to Laos, accounting for 28% of total foreign arrivals in the neighboring country.
In 2019, Vietnam welcomed over 98,000 visitors from Laos while the number of Vietnamese to Laos reached over 920,000.
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