Could electric taxis energize tourism development in Laos?

The Lao government places tourism as its primary focus to rekindle its economy. Targeting at least 4.6 million foreign and domestic tourists to travel to the country by 2024, the government predicts that it will generate a revenue of 712 million US dollars.

To attract more international visitors, the government is launching a year-long event called “Visit Laos Year 2024,” themed “A Paradise of Lao Culture, Nature, and History.” The event will comprise a total of 79 activities, 14 being national activities while 65 others taking place in different provinces. The campaign will kick-off on November 23, coinciding with Vientiane’s most significant Buddhist festival, That Luang.

“We are improving tourist facilities and diversifying tourism products to meet the needs of the regional and global tourism markets, while also improving the quality of services, aiming to welcome tourists with warmth, smiles and good hospitality,” said Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Suanesavanh Vignaket.

The transportation system in Laos is quite limited and relies heavily on traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, leading to traffic jams and pollution, which are significant problems for both locals and tourists. According to a study on Sustainability, motorbikes and private cars are the preferred modes of transportation. The lack of public transit options in Vientiane and other cities creates a significant gap in tourism development.

Due to the world’s shift towards eco-friendly transportation, electric taxis have become increasingly popular worldwide. They are a more efficient and cleaner alternative to traditional taxis as they reduce both noise pollution and carbon emissions. The introduction of electric taxis in Laos has the potential to make a significant impact on the transportation sector.

could electric taxis energize tourism development in laos?

Recently, Vietnam’s Green & Smart Mobility launched an electric taxi service, called Xanh SM, in Vientiane. This evironmentally friendly mode of transportation provides a reliable way to move around while contributing to the improvement of the local transportation system.

At the Xanh SM’s opening ceremony, Vientiane’s Secretary of the Party Committee and chairman of the People’s Council, Mr. Anouphap Tounalom said: “The use of electric vehicles is becoming more popular in Laos, particularly in big cities like Vientiane. A noteworthy action in Laos is the introduction of the Xanh SM taxi service, which not only expands transportation options for locals and visitors but also supports Laos’ environmental goal of having 30 percent electric vehicles by 2030. The arrival of this service will also generate employment opportunities for people and help alleviate economic hardships. The launch of GSM in Laos aligns perfectly with the country’s goals for “Visit Laos Year” in 2024, and its presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.”

Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos, Mr. Nguyen Ba Hung added: “The capacity of GSM and the presence of VinFast’s electric vehicle lineup in Laos yield a positive impact on the implementation of Laos’ national strategy. Moreover, it will inspire many Vietnamese businesses to choose Laos as their preferred investment and development destination in the future. This is not limited to the provision of smart, eco-friendly mobility services by GSM, but will also open up opportunities for various investment activities by Vietnamese economic companies and businesses in Laos going forward.”

The introduction of electric taxis in Laos not only has the potential to boost tourism development, but also create new job opportunities in the development and maintenance of charging infrastructure, electric vehicle maintenance, and the taxi service industry.

Furthermore, electric taxis offer a silent, comfortable, and environmentally friendly travel experience, which can contribute to positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations from tourists. By embracing electric mobility, Laos can establish itself as a leading destination for eco-conscious travelers, aligning with the principles of sustainable tourism.

The adoption of electric taxis in Laos has the potential to revolutionize transportation, bringing both economic and environmental benefits. By embracing this sustainable mode of transportation, Laos can not only enhance its economy and tourism industry, but also contribute to a greener future.

Will Davis is a freelance writer covering economic, automobile, and lifestyle topics in Vietnam.

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