Dien Bien (VNA) – Representatives of 20 provinces along the shared border between Vietnam and Laos gathered in a conference promoting cooperation for tourism development in the two countries’ border region in Dien Bien Phu City, the capital of the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien, on October 2.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the shared borderline of more than 2,300km with eight international border gates and nine border-gate economic zones between the two countries is of great development potential and holds a strategic position on the East - West economic corridor.

VNAT Deputy Director-General Ha Van Sieu said bilateral tourism cooperation has seen progress in recent years given the good long-standing friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive partnership between the two countries. Many tourism promotion and cooperation activities have been jointly organised, attracting authorities, industry associations and tourism enterprises from both sides, he noted.

Vietnamese tourist arrivals in Laos reached nearly 924,900 in 2019 before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic while Vietnam welcomed more than 98,000 visitor arrivals from Laos.

As Vietnam and Laos removed COVID-19-triggered border closure earlier this year, travel between the two countries has begun recovering, with some 46,500 Lao arrivals in Vietnam and 49,200 Vietnamese visiting Laos in the first half of this year.

During the event, tourism administrators and border localities put forward various recommendations to boost tourism linkages and cooperation along the shared borderline.

Among the recommendations, one suggested the two countries adopt incentives attractive enough to lure investment in developing transport infrastructure connecting border-gate economic zones and tourist destinations while another proposed adding tourism cooperation into the 2015 Vietnam – Laos bilateral trade agreement./.