More Russian tourists visit Laos

" About 12,000 Russians visited Laos in 2017 and, although this number is not high, the figure is an indicator of the stability of Russian interest in Laos as a tourist destination and visitor numbers are in fact rising from year to year.
Commenting on the situation recently, Russian Ambassador to Laos  Mikhail Baranov said he was certain that joint efforts between Laos and Russia would result in further increases in the number of Russian nationals visiting Laos.

Russian Ambassador to Laos Mikhail Baranov.

With regard to incentives for Russians to visit Laos, the ambassador said the most important measures to bolster tourism had already been taken. For instance, Russia and Laos have signed an agreement on the mutual exemption of visa requirements for holders of ordinary passports.
Under this agreement, Lao and Russian citizens can enter each other’s country for up to 30 days without an entry visa. This is extremely significant because Russia became the 11th country with which Laos has a visa exemption agreement and is the only non-Asean state on that list.
The majority of foreign tourists come to Laos from Asian countries, in particular from Thailand, Vietnam, China and the Republic of Korea.
“I am confident that in order to receive more tourists the Lao authorities should keep developing the attractiveness of the country, first of all for tourists from neighbouring countries,” the ambassador said.
This could be achieved by improving the quality of services and tourism- related infrastructure, especially roads and access to cultural and historical sites. This would also create thousands of new jobs and drive economic growth in Laos.
Laos is one of Russia's strategic partners in the Asia-Pacific region. Diplomatic ties between the two countries were established in 1960 and since then Laos and Russia have been connected by a close relationship.
“We maintain fruitful political dialogue, our positions on key international and regional issues are similar or coincide, and I am confident that this partnership and friendship are a good example to other countries,” the ambassador said.
With the assistance of the Soviet Union a great many projects in the fields of transport infrastructure, healthcare and education have been implemented in Laos. About 8,000 Lao citizens have undergone higher education in Soviet and later Russian universities.
“We are especially proud that many of these people now hold important positions in various state governing bodies and successfully work for the benefit of their country. The good tradition of training personnel for Laos in Russia is continuing. In 2017 almost 100 people from Laos went to study at various Russian universities,” Ambassador Baranov said.
“Last year 91 Lao citizens obtained scholarships from the Russian government to study in Russia. I would like to emphasise that the annual increase in the number of scholarships allocated to Lao nationals became a tradition after the reestablishment of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Vientiane in 2013. This centre successfully promotes Russian culture and language in Laos and we have witnessed a striking interest among Lao people in our country,” he added.
Russia attaches great importance to elevating its relations of dialogue partnership with Asean to a strategic level. In this regard, all the spheres mentioned above are important for Laos-Russia ties.
Trade, economic ties and reciprocal investments are gradually increasing. Among the key economic partners of Russia are Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
In 2017, the value of trade between Russia and Vietnam reached almost   US$5.5 billion, while the volume of trade with Singapore increased by 94 percent last year and reached about US$4.5 billion. Russia continues to raise its investment in these and other Asean countries.
Moscow is actively engaged in regional integration processes in the Asia-Pacific. The Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was established in 2015 and has signed a free trade agreement with Vietnam and memoranda of cooperation with Cambodia and Singapore. Asean and Russia also agreed to launch a joint feasibility study of a comprehensive free trade area between Asean and the EAEU.
Russia has implemented or is still implementing about 20 joint projects with Asean in different domains, including food security, energy, education, transport, medicine, information and navigation technologies. All of these are financed by the Asean-Russia Dialogue Partnership Financial Fund.
In the field of tourism, visitor arrivals from Russia to Asean countries are also on the rise. The statistics are encouraging: the number of Russian tourists rose from 300,000 in 2009 to about 2 million in 2017.
One of the important aspects of Russia-Asean relations is the development of cultural ties. As part of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Asean-Russia dialogue, the year 2016 was designated as the Asean-Russia Year of Culture.
Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky met his Asean counterparts within the framework of this important initiative.
Back-to-back with the Commemorative Russia-Asean Summit, the first Festival of Culture was held in Sochi. In addition, each year the Asean-Russia Youth Symphony Orchestra stages performances in different countries of the region. In 2016 the orchestra performed in Laos.
As for people-to-people contacts, this is an area that Russia is seeking to forge and deepen. To this end, the first Asean-Russia Youth Summit was held in 2013 in Moscow and has become a regular format for exchanges among the most talented young people and future leaders of the countries involved. In 2015, the summit took place in the Russian city of Vladivostok.

"I would also like to underline the role of Laos in facilitating Russia-Asean ties. In 2016 Laos was Asean Chair and until August this year your country will perform its mission as the coordinator of Russia-Asean dialogue relations. Through our joint efforts, our partnership has reached a qualitatively new high level," Ambassador Baranov said.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update July 05, 2017 )


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