Over 150 travel industry professionals participated in the Pacific Asia Travel Association Reception & Networking Event in Vientiane, Laos.
The PATA event was a curtain raiser to the Asean Tourism Forum.
Among 150 industry leaders, senior representatives from the Laos PDR ministry of information, culture & tourism attended.
The PATA Executive Board was represented by members Luzi Matzig and Peter Semone.
The event took place at the city’s highly popular Khop Chai Deu restaurant.
PATA chief executive Martin Craigs used the event to emphasise PATA’s respected position as a travel industry advocate to enhance training skills for people entering tourism, especially younger workers in developing economies in the Mekong region.
“Laos is a prime example of a quickly growing destination where the visitor economy needs to be nurtured,” said Craigs.
“Political leaders such as Dr Bosenghkham, the Lao PDR ministry of information, culture & tourism, understand the importance of tourism as a force for socio-economic good.
“I wish government ministers in western countries thought the same way,” he said.
The PATA chief told the audience that throughout 2013, the association will be aggressively making the case for the visitor economy, which is defined as all economic activities in a destination that benefit from direct and indirect expenditure from tourism dollars.
In Laos, according to PATA statistics, the visitor economy is estimated to contribute 18.2 per cent to national GDP, 15.9 per cent to total employment and 9.8 per cent of all capital investments.
Within south-east Asia, Laos is second only to Cambodia in terms of dependency on travel and tourism.