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Preparations to Lao Ecotourism Forum under high steam

( In the context of the high-powered Lao Ecotourism Forum on July 26-29, 2007,
the offices of the Lao National Tourism Administration (LNTA) in Vientiane are even occupied on a Sunday. Mr. Steven Schipani, Team Leader of the Community-Based Tourism Component of the Mekong Tourism Development Project, Vientiane, is
organising the last program details for the up-coming event, which will highlight the tourism potential of the Lao PDR.

To be held at the prestigious Don Chan Palace Hotel in Vientiane, rightly situated on an island in the mighty Mekong River, the eagerly-awaited Lao Ecotourism Forum will be ceremoniously opened by H.E. Somphong Mongkonvilay, Minister to the Prime Minister's Office, on Thursday, July 26 at 8.30 in the morning.

Mr. Schipani confirmed that there will be some 80 sellers attending the Mekong
Ecotourism Mart next to 50 international and local buyers. Also, there will be some 20 representatives of the international and local media, spearheaded by a team of TTR from Bangkok. Furthermore, observing the event will be Lonely Planet writer Joe Cummings, who is based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and a TV team from UBC in Bangkok. Delegates from Malaysia and Sri Lanka will add to the list of participants.

Among the list of speakers of the forum on Day 1, Dr. Sasithara Pichaichannarong, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand, will give a talk on Mekong Tourism and the UN Millennium Goal of Sustainable Tourism Development, while Mr. Peter Semone, former PATA Executive, Bangkok, will present his vision of Marketing Mekong Ecotourism to the World.

Day 2 of the forum will be occupied with the Annual Meeting of LNTA officials, who see Laos as the Jewel of the Mekong River and push Lao Airlines to be the main carrier in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

Some of the new tourism development projects in Laos are the modernisation of the airport in Luang Nam Tha, the opening of the “Hidden City" of Vieng Xay near the Vietnamese border and the improving of the “Emerald Triangle" in the southern part of the country, where the borders of Laos, Thailand and Cambodia meet.

Last not least, some of the delegates can eventually join a post-forum tour to the Konglor Caves in Khammuan Province, visit a nearby national park or book an
excursion into the hinterland of Luang Prabang in the northern part of the country.

Other exciting events will entertain the public.

For further information, please go to
Reinhard Hohler
TTR North Thailand News Bureau
Chiang Mai, Thailand
(Local mobile: +66-6795223)

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