MICE Ready to Feast in Laos


The Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry launches LAOFOOD 2018 at a ceremony held on 14 December, at the Best Western Vientiane.

By Bernie Rosenbloom


The international hospitality trade’s spotlight will focus on the inaugural LAOFOOD 2018 Exhibition, being held at the National Convention Centre in Vientiane on 7-9 June, when global and local hospitality and F&B suppliers will present their latest products to regional hotels, restaurants, and distributors.


The event – co-hosted by the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and Lao Hotel and Restaurant Association (LHRA) – aims to plant Laos on the Asia-Pacific MICE map.  


LAOFOOD 2018 will also feature the Lao Hospitality & Culinary Competitions and The Lao Culinary Showcase to raise awareness in local dishes, drinks, and service quality.


“These are not normal competitions and showcases,” said Oudet Souvannavong, President of the LNCCI and LHRA. “It’s more like a minority and Lao food expo to raise awareness in local foods,” he said.


Mr. Souvannavong explained, “For example, we’ll have Hmong and Khmu food demonstrations alongside ethnic cultural shows,” adding that the expo will also present regional variations of Lao food. “Take the preparation and taste of laap, a popular native dish…it varies from north to south,” he noted.


LAOFOOD 2018 will also give the traditional booth format a twist. “Suppliers are invited to come and give talks…not just to showcase their products and services, but to explain and demonstrate them,” said Andrew Siou, Director of the expo’s organiser AMB Taurus Events Group, who sees promise in Laos as a MICE destination.


“You don’t want the trade to skip Laos, and this event presents an excellent opportunity to enter the Asian MICE circuit,” he pointed out. “Events like this bring money into Laos. Instead of Lao hotels and suppliers going to other countries, they come here and bring money. It increases tourism from all over – Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong – plus LAOFOOD 2018 coincides with Visit Laos Year.”


Mr. Souvannavong pointed out that hospitality entrepreneurs in Luang Prabang are very knowledgeable and the LNCCI and LHRA would like to host an event there.


Mr Siou added that the June date is perfect for a non-seasonal MICE event as hotel rooms are readily available, hospitality decision makers have more open schedules, and rain is not an issue.


Peter Semone, Managing Partner, Destination Human Capital, suggested the Lao hospitality industry could use LAOFOOD 2018 to introduce students to the trade. “The hospitality and culinary competitions would enhance the knowledge of young people considering careers in the service industry.”


Categories for the Lao Hospitality & Culinary Competitions include barista, cake making, pastry challenge, fruit & vegetable carving, bartending, table setting, and bed decoration.


The Lao Culinary Showcase aims to promote Lao cuisine, and will feature cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs. The showcase will also highlight Lao food from different provinces.


International exhibitors at LAOFOOD 2018 will be offering products and equipment covering the entire food and drink spectrum. Lao exhibitors are expected to showcase fresh produce, organic food, coffee and other beverages, meat and poultry, and dairy products.


The event expects to attract thousands of buyers from Southeast Asia and other Asia-Pacific markets.