Laos, a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, is known as “Simply Beautiful” because of its natural beauty and cultural legacy. But where did this slogan originate, and what does it imply for the country and its people? Let’s look at the history of the “Simply Beautiful” tagline and its current relevance in Laos.
The Origins of the Slogan
The Lao government first used the term “Simply Beautiful” to encourage tourism to the country in 2012. The government recognized that Laos had a lot to offer visitors in terms of natural beauty, rich culture, and friendly people, and they sought to develop a tagline that encompassed all of these qualities.
The tagline was officially unveiled in 2012, and it has since been widely utilized in tourism marketing campaigns in Laos and worldwide. The slogan’s message is that Laos is a land of simplicity and beauty and that visitors can anticipate a one-of-a-kind and real experience when they visit.
Importance of Tourism for Laos
According to the government, Laos welcomed a record 3.1 million foreign tourists in 2012, equivalent to half of the population. The government advertised 2012 as Visit Laos Year under the slogan “Simply Beautiful.” The European Council on Tourism and Trade voted Laos the World’s Best Tourist Destination in 2013. In 1995, UNESCO declared Luang Prabang as a World Heritage site, and Wat Phu, a historic Khmer temple near Champasak, soon followed.
The tagline “Simply Beautiful” has also helped to create Laos’ image as a responsible and sustainable tourism destination. Many visitors to Laos seek an authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience, and the phrase reflects this desire for simplicity and natural beauty.
Tourism is a significant industry in Laos, and the “Simply Beautiful” motto has played an essential role in drawing visitors. It was reported that Laos’ travel and tourism sector directly contributed more than 12% of the country’s GDP in 2019, and it is predicted to increase further in the following years. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourist receipts collapsed in 2020. Only $227.00 million billion remained of the $974.00 million billion (2019). In Laos, tourism’s contribution to GDP is a 77 percent decline.
Culture and Heritage
The “Simply Beautiful” slogan is about promoting Laos’s natural beauty and its rich culture and heritage. Laos is home to over 50 different ethnic groups, each with its own unique customs and traditions. The slogan highlights the country’s cultural diversity and encourages visitors to explore and learn more about its people and history.
The slogan also emphasizes the importance of preserving Laos’s cultural heritage. Many of the country’s traditional customs and practices are threatened by modernization and development, and the slogan serves as a reminder to locals and visitors to protect and respect these cultural treasures.
Top Tourist Attractions in Laos
Laos is not coined as “Simply Beautiful” for no reason. The country is rich in picturesque views and attractions that both locals and tourists enjoy. What is there in Laos that genuinely makes it “Simply Beautiful”? Here are some places that you can visit and enjoy in the country.
Vientiane, the Capital City
Vientiane is Laos’s capital city and is typically considered the country’s entry point. With many Buddhist temples, colonial-era structures, and French-inspired architecture, the city is a blend of modern and old. Among the most popular tourist sites in Vientiane are:
Wat Si Saket
One of the oldest temples in Vientiane and home to thousands of Buddha images.
A war monument in the shape of a triumphal arch, also known as the “Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane.”
Pha That Luang
A Buddhist stupa is considered the most important national monument in Laos.
A morning market that is great for shopping and trying local food.
Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Luang Prabang is a city in northern Laos that is regarded as one of the most attractive in the country. The city is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to many Buddhist temples. These are some of the top tourist attractions in Luang Prabang:
Wat Xieng Thong
A Buddhist temple that is considered one of the most important temples in Laos.
Kuang Si Waterfall
A beautiful waterfall that is located just outside of the city, which is great for swimming and relaxing.
A hilltop temple that offers great views of the city and the Mekong River.
A night market that is great for shopping and trying local food.
The Plain of Jars
The Plain of Jars is a one-of-a-kind archaeological site in central Laos. Over 90 jar-shaped stone constructions considered to be over 2,500 years old can be found at the site. The jars’ origin and purpose are unknown, but they are regarded as one of Southeast Asia’s most important archaeological sites.
Si Phan Don (The 4000 Islands)
Si Phan Don is a series of islands in southern Laos famed for its scenic beauty, waterfalls, and caverns. The islands are a fantastic spot to unwind, swim, and explore.
The Mekong River
The Mekong River is known as the world’s 12th longest river, passing through six nations, including Laos. Millions of people who dwell along its banks rely on it for transit, food, and a living. The Mekong River also offers travelers a unique opportunity to explore Laos’ rural districts and immerse with the local culture and way of life.
National Parks and Wildlife Reserves
Laos is home to a diverse and wide range of ecosystems, including tropical forests, wetlands, and mountains. These ecosystems are home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. Some of the top tourist attractions for nature lovers include:
Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area
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A national park in northern Laos is home to various plant and animal species, including tigers and elephants.
Xe Pian National Protected Area
A park in southern Laos, recognized as a national protected area, is home to an abundant array of plant and animal species, including the gibbons and elephants.
A highland area in southern Laos known for its coffee and tea plantations, waterfalls, and ethnic minority villages.
Kong Lor Cave
A 7.5 km limestone cave in central Laos is known for its crystal-clear water and impressive rock formations.
The slogan “Simply Beautiful” accurately depicts Laos and its people. It reflects the country’s natural beauty, rich history and legacy, and warm and inviting people. The slogan has played an essential role in encouraging tourism to Laos and shaping the country’s image as a destination for responsible and sustainable tourism. From the capital city of Vientiane to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang and the mysterious Plain of Jars, it has a diverse range of tourist attractions. The Mekong River, national parks, and wildlife reserves are major attractions. The country is also great for adventure and outdoor activities, such as trekking, rafting, biking, and kayaking. With its natural beauty, rich culture, and heritage, Laos is a country that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list.