Laos will charge US$1 from every tourist entering through border checkpoints across the country for a tourism fund from October 1, a senior official has said.
The Deputy Director Gerneral of the Planning and Finance Department of the Information, Culture and Tourism Ministry, Ms Khammay Phengsavanh said, “Tourists who hold all passports and border-passes will be charged US$1 for the tourism fund from October 1 in order to collect funds for tourism development. Our department has been cooperating with the Ministry of Finance to draw up the tourism fund bill, which we have already distributed to all Departments of Information, Culture and Tourism in the country. We also translated details of the tourism fund and disseminated information to all of them on how the process will work,” said Ms Khammay.
She added “We are also producing another bill to charge for the tourism fund from local and traditional festivals, and the charge will depend on how big or small the festival is. The departments in other provinces will charge this amount through their own processes. But it should be a suitable or reasonable charge.”
The departments in all provinces will also able to charge an amount for activities or from bidders for the tourism fund. They should ensure this amount is reasonable and satisfactory for both sides, she said.
“Our province has two international checkpoints and four traditional checkpoints, and we will send our staff to be stationed with the authorities at these checkpoints to work for collecting the charge for the tourism fund. First, we will work on collecting the charge at the two international checkpoints,” Head of the Information, Culture and Tourism Department in Bolikhamxay province, Mr Khen Lormany said.
“This is good to raise funds for developing tourism, and we will also try to ensure transparency while collecting the charge from tourists at the checkpoints. We will cooperate with all sectors at the immigration counters to gather details of the number of tourists entering the country and the funds being collected daily,” he added.
He said officials of the provincial administration will discuss the other bill for collecting a charge on festivals for the tourism fund and determine a suitable way to collect the fee, which might not be easy to do.
“The number of tourist arrivals at our bridge is averaging 1,500 per week, with Monday and Tuesday recording the highest number of arrivals during the week,” an official at the First Lao-Thai International Friendship Bridge in Vientiane told Vientiane Times yesterday.
Source: Asia News Network