micenet Logo
0 - MH - DGC
1 - T1 - BCEC
2 - T2 - Sanctuary Cove
3 - T3 - Australian Event Awards
2 - T2 - Sanctuary Cove

Laos: An emerging destination for business events

Share this story

Laos: An emerging destination for business events
Laos, which holds the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2024, is courting greater prominence with a ‘Visit Laos Year’ campaign. More than 400 meetings are anticipated, mostly in Vientiane, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang.

While Thailand, China and South Korea top inbound arrivals for leisure and business events, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) is also collaborating with various sectors to organise more events to boost the Lao tourism Industry.

“We don’t have a MICE association yet; most events are organised by individual sectors in collaboration with event organisers,” said Phouthone Dalalom, director of the hospitality and tourism training division for MICT.

Laos has an inspirational setting for small business events, commented Duangmala Phommavong, managing director of EXO Travel Laos. “There are boutique hotels, good meeting facilities, nature, cultural heritage, UNESCO World Heritage sites, amazing food and light traffic. There is also the option to engage with local communities and support local producers.”

DMCs noted that although there are fewer direct flights to Laos than before COVID-19, connectivity is improving with more connections to and from regional hubs like Bangkok, Hanoi and Singapore.

As an example, Laurent Granier, co-founder and general manager of Laos Mood Travel, said a group could depart from Sydney on Thai Airways at 10am, fly via Bangkok and arrive in Vientiane at 7:45pm, Laos time.

“We can easily do loops in and out of Vientiane, to pass through the northern areas of Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. This is possible over land or by high-speed train on the Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang stretch,” he added.

Laos: An emerging destination for business events
Kayaking on Namsong River, Vang Vieng

Europe and North America are the main MICE sources currently, but some DMCs, hotels and tour operators reported Australian interest as well.

Vientiane-based Tuk Tuk Tours co-founder, Peta McLean, said: “We can customise our Live Lao for One Day, Silk Road Safari and Down on the Rice Farm tours. It’s better to keep to a maximum of 20 guests per group, otherwise the more personal nature gets too diluted.”

Asian fusion restaurant Jaidee Vientiane hosts private events for 12 to 45 pax in three different sections or 120 pax indoors and al fresco. Corporate bookings are mainly from the tourism, banking, automotive, insurance and mining industries, but owner Stanislas Fradelizi happily customises menus for MICE events.

Luang Prabang is well-known for its rich history and temples. But emerging business events destination Vang Vieng is drawing business groups of 15 to 50 pax for three-day/two-night programs, or longer for corporate retreats and seminars.

An hour from Vientiane by high-speed rail or up to two hours by road, Vang Vieng’s attractions and activities include stunning caves and blue lagoons, kayaking, cycling and trekking. It also offers one of the cheapest hot air balloon rides in Asia. Alternatively, groups can visit a village school to interact with the local community.

Boutique hotels like Inthira Vang Vieng are tapping the growing corporate segment with the property counting government agencies, NGOs and an Australian mining company among regular clients.

“Bookings look promising for the next few months and we are working on expanding our reach in the international market,” said general manager, Charles-David Hay.

Updates to your inbox

More News