Laos ranked 61st for total contribution of tourism to GDP

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Tourism is increasingly contributing to the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and driving important economic activity in most countries around the world including Laos.

In 2017, Laos was ranked 61st out of 185 countries by total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP, according to the United Nations’ World Travel and Tourism Council’s latest report unveiled recently.

Laos placed ahead of other Asean nations including Malaysia (63rd), Singapore (88th), Vietnam (100th), Myanmar (140th) and Indonesia (152nd).  

Meanwhile Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia were rated 34th, 35th and 20th respectively for total contribution of travel and tourism to those countries’ GDP.

The total contribution from the tourism industry to the Lao economy was about US$2 billion, which accounted for 13.7 percent of total GDP.

The UN World Travel and Tourism Council has projected that the figure could rise by 4.7 percent in 2018, and by 4.8 percent to US$3.37 billion, which will represent 12.2 percent of GDP in 2028.

Travel and tourism investment in Laos for 2017 was 4.62 trillion kip, representing 10.5 percent of total investment. It should rise by 5.6 percent over the next 10 years to 8.43 trillion kip in 2028.

Tourism is an economic sector which has expanded rapidly in several countries around the world.

Tourism brings spending on goods and services that can boost foreign currency reserves and create more job opportunities for people in the service and production sectors, particularly agriculture and handicrafts.

In addition, the tourism industry boosts infrastructure advancement including roads, airports, railways, hotels, restaurants, the development of new tourism sites and transit services.

The UN World Travel and Tourism Council revealed that travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, driving exports as well as generating job opportunities and prosperity across the world.

In the council’s annual analysis of the global economic impact of travel and tourism, the sector is shown to account for 10.4 percent of global GDP and 313 million jobs, representing 9.9 percent of total employment last year.

2017 was one of the strongest years of GDP growth in a decade with robust consumer spending worldwide. This global growth transferred again into travel and tourism with the sector’s direct growth of 4.6 percent outpacing the global economy for the seventh successive year.

This year, the Lao government is hoping to attract at least 5 million tourists to the country and generate revenue of about US$900 million.    

But critics say the government needs to do more in the way of promotional advertising to let international visitors know about the amazing attractions and colourful culture that await them in Laos.

Laos also has huge potential in offering transit services along the East-West Economic Corridor and railway. But the government needs to develop infrastructure including road access and tourism activities to encourage visitors to stay longer in Laos.   

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