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Laos, Cambodia agree to promote bilateral tourism

VIENTIANE, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Lao and Cambodian tourism authorities have pledged to strengthen cooperation and encourage more people to travel between the two neighbors.

According to Lao News Agency report on Wednesday, Lao and Cambodian officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the Lao capital on Monday, aimed at improving the standards of tourism personnel and attracting more investments to increase bilateral tourism between the two Southeast Asian countries.

The MoU was signed by Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department under the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Khom Douangchantha, and Director General of Tourism Development and International Cooperation under Ministry of Tourism of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Thong Rathasak.

The event was also attended by Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Suanesavanh Vignaket and Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, who is on an official visit to Vientiane.

During the event, Suanesavanh confirmed Laos' willingness to foster tourism between Laos and Cambodia and the continued strengthening of cooperation in the development of natural resources in tourism.

The two sides agreed to make it easier for people to drive from Cambodia to Laos and vice versa through simplified immigration procedures at border crossings, especially when travelling from Laos to coastal areas of Cambodia and from Cambodia to tourist attractions in Laos.

Both ministries agreed to initiate "Two Countries, One Destination," a promotional campaign.

The two ministries also agreed to push for more flights between popular tourist destinations in Laos and Cambodia.

Private operators in the two countries will be encouraged to organize package tours bringing tourists from China and other countries to both Laos and Cambodia, using the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway and the Lao-China Railway.

The two sides agreed to explore the possibility of linking tourist destinations by arranging cruises on the Mekong River.

Tourism officials also mulled organizing roadshows in each country to give tourism businesses the opportunity to make contacts and foster investment in tourism, according to the report.