Public and Private Partnership Towards Southern Laos Tourism

As seen on The Laotian Times Article by Taejun Kang
The Marketing Taskforce (MTF) has taken ownership of the official digital media assets of Southern Laos — designed to promote tourism in the destination — with a turnover event at Champasak Grand Hotel on January 28, 2020.  The event was attended by local and national government representatives from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), and members of the business community including Champasak’s Hotel and Restaurant Association (CHRA), the Champasak Travel Agent Association (CPATA), and Lao Airlines. The highlight of the event is the transfer of the Southern Laos website to the Southern Laos Marketing Taskforce (MTF), a public-private working group which coordinates tourism marketing efforts in Southern Laos.  The MTF is chaired by the Champasak Provincial Department of Information, Culture, and Tourism (DICT) and Co-chaired by business associations CHRA and CPATA, and further comprises of a website management team of six private sector representatives and two DICT officers. The innovative public-private structure is governed by a mandate from the DICT. This lists the responsibilities of the MTF representatives to manage the Southern Laos’ official media assets.
The website management team has, since 2018, invested significant inputs to the content of Southern Laos’ online media channels.   These include the website and the destination’s Facebook and Instagram social media accounts — which doubled their number of page-likes and followers last year.  The website has been highly successful, raking in over 72,000 monthly page views and 20,000 visits on average in 2019 — an impressive number for a sub-national tourism destination and a notable increase from 57,000 monthly page views and 15,000 visits on average in 2018.  Most of the website visitors come from the targeted, higher-spending western countries, such as USA and Europe, along with, Thailand, China, even Japan; due to the website’s automatic translation into 13 languages. It also boasts a Professional Area for local tourism businesses that provides free for download high resolution photographs of Southern Laos and other marketing materials necessary for promoting their business. Since its establishment, the MTF, together with a Marketing Advisor from the Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation (Swisscontact), has been implementing promotional activities and campaigns to raise awareness about the region to the target visitor audiences, as well as coordinating with the local tourism Destination Management Network.  The website management team’s forward plan is to increase or maintain the current statistics of the media assets by continuously promoting domestically and internationally with relevant and up-to-date information to encourage more visitors to come to Southern Laos. The MTF hopes that by collaborating to represent Southern Laos through high quality targeted marketing efforts rather than promoting their individual provinces, they can continue to be competitive as a tourism destination and make the most of growing travel and tourism market in Southeast Asia.