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Cambodia hopes Laos-China Railway will bring more foreign tourists

Cambodia is hoping that the Laos-China Railway will bring more international tourists to the kingdom, its Minister of Tourism Dr Thong Khon said on Tuesday.
The minister was on a four-day visit to Laos from March 12-15, to boost cooperation in tourism between the two neighbours.

Visitors arrive at Luang Prabang station after travelling on the Laos-China Railway.

Opening for service in December 2021, the railway connects Vientiane to Kunming – the capital of Yunnan province in Southwest China.
Dr Khon said he had travelled on the railway for the first time, making the journey from Vientiane to Luang Prabang – the popular world heritage town in northern Laos.
“The Kounmini-Viang Chan [Kunming-Vientiane] high speed train is the hope of the tourist flow to Cambodia,” Dr Khon said in a news release posted on the ministry’s Facebook page.
“The high-speed train has a lot of Lao and Thai passengers visiting China, and Chinese passengers coming to Laos and Thailand. This shows the hope for an influx of tourists to Cambodia in the near future. There are some people who love to travel. Tickets are cheap and safe.”
Encouraged by rising passenger numbers on the Laos-China railway, neighbouring Thailand is also hoping to benefit from tourist spillover from China, which lifted its anti-Covid-19 measures on January 8 and resumed outbound group tours on February 6.
During the Cambodian minister’s visit, the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism and the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism held talks and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance tourism cooperation.
The two sides agreed to organise familiarisation trips for government officials, tour operators, travel agents, and the media, in order to spur the growth of tourism.
They pledged to make it easier for people driving across land borders by simplifying immigration procedures, especially for those travelling from Laos to coastal areas of Cambodia and from Cambodia to tourist attractions in Laos.
The two tourism authorities plan to set up a joint promotional campaign titled “Two Countries, One Destination” at international tourism fairs. The two ministries also agreed to push for more flights connecting tourist hotspots in Laos and Cambodia.
Laos has a number of well-known tourist attractions including the three world heritage sites of Luang Prabang, Vat Phou temple in southern Champassak province, and the Plain of Jars in northern Xieng Khuang province.
Cambodia is also home to three world heritage sites - the Angkor archeological park in northwest Siem Reap province, Preah Vihear Temple in northwest Preah Vihear province, and Sambor Prei Kuk archeological site in central Kampong Thom province.
Tourism is one of the leading industries supporting the Lao and Cambodian economies.
Cambodia is expected to receive 4 million international tourists this year, including 800,000 to 1 million Chinese tourists, according to a Xinhua report.
Meanwhile, Laos hopes to attract at least 1.4 million foreign tourists in 2023, despite the huge slump in visitor numbers last year.
More international travellers are expected to take holidays in Laos this year as the country is in the global tourism spotlight. Laos has been named among the best places to visit in 2023 by many well-known travel magazines and news agencies including the National Geographic, CNN, the Telegraph and the Traveller.
Officials say the expected influx means more spillovers that will also benefit Laos’ neighbours.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
 (Latest Update March 16, 2023)


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