Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Dr Bosengkham Vongdara unloaded a list of travel complaints on the government last week, and called for cooperation to address the barriers hampering Tourism growth.
Problems in Paradise
Dr Bosengkham and other senior officials presented a slate of problems that tourists encounter when entering and exiting the country:
· Several border crossings are slow to carry out their duties, especially at the end of the working day when overtime kicks in.
· Some border crossings unlawfully make people pay for arrival and entry forms that are free.
· Border officials are rude when processing documents.
· Crossings without computer systems are very slow, which frustrates tour operators and visitors.
· Officials apply unwarranted inspections and fees to groups or visitors when travelling or entering some tourist sites.
· The Tourism Police requires tour operators to submit a document detailing their clients’ information and travel plans before bringing a group into the country, though the government already discontinued this practice.
· The Tourist Police fine tour operators who change itineraries, and don’t give receipts for the charges.
Dr Bosengkham also said the government needed to act on high prices in Laos, which many blame for the decline in foreign tourist arrivals.
One reports states that food costs in Laos are 10-20% higher than in neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam.
The minister also called for the government to consider reducing or waiving visa fees for nationals of certain countries, but did not specify which ones.
Source: Vientiane Times