Laos remains one of the poorest countries in the world and is still strongly supported by international donors despite a 6-7% yearly economic growth. The economy is mainly based on agriculture (80%) with sticky rice, coffee, tobacco, cotton, tea and corn. In remote areas, livelihood remains based on forest products such as resins, medicinal plants and forest foods. Other economic sectors are mining, tourism hydropower, garment, rubber, and agro-forestry.
Tourism represents nearly 18% of the GDP and is the second economic source of revenue after minerals (49%). As a landlocked country spared by mass beach tourism and closed for many years after the Indochinese wars, the country has kept a pristine natural landscape in many places and still offers genuine experiences. Seeing this unique opportunity, and wisely attentive to international experts’ advice, the Lao National Tourism Administration committed itself to position their country on the growing market of ecotourism. Aside from the design of a Lao ecotourism strategy, the government committed itself strongly by providing special incentives to foreign and local investments in rural areas in order to offer a top-notch eco-destination for travelling in Southeast Asia. With the support of the private sector, government agencies, and international donors several programs involving local communities have been launched to preserve this natural legacy and fantastic cultural heritage while spreading revenues through remote areas. Laos is in the process of becoming an example of sustainable tourism development. Visit www.ecotourismlaos.com