Laos named best tourist destination

| Source: Bangkok Post
Laos has been named world’s best tourist destination for 2013 by the European Council on Tourism and Trade, local media reports said Tuesday.

A delegation from the Bucharest-based council, a non-profit organisation which promotes tourism outside the European Union, will hand over the award to Deputy Prime Minister Asang Laoly on Wednesday, the Vientiane Times reported.

The council chose Laos for this year’s award for the government’s “promotion of free and fair tourism, the safety of tourists, the facilities offered, access to sites of historical and cultural significance, investment in the preservation of historical sites, and the benefits of tourism to grassroots communities,” the daily said.

Laos, one of the world’s last communist regimes, is promoting tourism as an engine of economic growth.

Last year, some 3.3 million tourists visited Laos, up 22% year-on-year, the government mouthpiece reported.