Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
We traveled here to bring to you, the people of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, our message of friendship, peace, tolerance and mutual understanding, a message from the very heart of the Europe.
This spring, The European Council on Tourism and Trade awarded the highest tourism prize, the World Best Tourist Destination for 2013 to the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos.
60 years ago a well known scientist predicted that up to the end of the last century the world will become global, and that all the people in the world will be living in “the global village”.
It seems indeed that we are living now in a global world, where all the nations are called to solve complex problems of international, national, confessional, environmental and social nature.
And Laos is indeed a part of this global village. The strategic perspective and the wise and balanced approach adopted by your government and by your country’s leadership is a wonderful example. Your country is connected to the world with care and confidence, step by step, keeping a balance between the international and the national perspective.
This means respect for the national identity of Laos, a realization of the importance of the country’s image in the world, as well as a need for a sincere and positive cooperation with other countries for the progress and well-being of mankind.
When we study the realities of Laos and place of Laos in the modern world we discover that your country is from a certain point of view the “melting pot” that the same scientist predicted, a place and a nation where interethnic, interracial, inter-confessional problems are solved peacefully, with a careful approach to the environment, people, ancient and modern culture, national and global economy.
Here is a typical example of the wise manner in which the country’s leadership is solving complex problems and situations.
The leaders of Laos, in accordance with the needs and expectations of the Laos society and people decided that the activities of information, culture and tourism are gathered under the same umbrella, in the same ministry, underlying the importance of the three activities, their national importance, as well as their strong interconnection.
Information is vital for any human activity, for any nation involved in the process of multilateral development. The last century could be described as the beginning of the information age. It seems to be a never-ending story. Recent studies revealed the too much information from too many sources could be harmful. The individual effort of looking for information sources, receiving and decoding, selecting and interpreting may require too much effort. Too much and too divers information could be confusing. Spending too much time inside the virtual world keeps us from living in real life: to work, to spend quality time with family and friends, to meet new people and to enjoy the nature. From ancient times, teaching was the basic method of censorship and selection, of passing important information from one generation to another.
Culture is the heart of every nation, of every group of people related by place, time and political context. Again, almost 40 years ago, the new leadership of your country took a wise and strategic decision to the build the identity of the Lao nation, the present and the future of the country on the heritage of the past. Wisdom and tolerance, firmness and balance, were the concepts that guided the building of a nation, proud of its past and confident in its future.
The collaboration with UNESCO in identifying and carefully preserving the heritage of the Lao people is at the same time a token of admiration and respect of the whole world for the treasures of the Lao nation. As you may know, the most precious treasure of your country, are the people! They are friendly and their hospitality is already known around the world. They seem to live according to other time measures, and I am sure that the English idioms “take your time” and “take it easy” have their ancient roots in Lao!
We may thank you for reminding us that there is life beyond stress, morning rush, crazy schedules and endless meetings…..
And at last, the most complex task of all: tourism. It involves resources and money, smart managers and nice people, a cultural heritage and an enchanting nature, along with good food, good transportation, good housing and most of all, good will.
Taking a look at the progress made by Laos’s tourism, we may affirm that Laos has all the above incentives, and may become many years from now, a preferred tourist destination for millions of people from all over the world.
It is so easy for me to bring to you all the good words from the European Union. I would like to congratulate once again your great leaders, their leadership teams and all the Lao people, men and women that contributed to building together a proud nation, admired and respected by the entire world.
And finally from our hearts again congratulations for being awarded the highest tourism prize, the World Best Tourist Destination for 2013 to the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos by The European Council on Tourism and Trade.