Travel Indochina has expanded its Asian operations with the launch of a new joint venture in Laos, as it reported growing interest in visiting the destination from the Australian market.
The joint venture, with hotel operator Sala Prabang, is the result of the strong relationship built up between the two parties over years of working together and a recent relaxation of tourism regulations, managing director Paul Hole told Travel Today.
"It gives us greater control over the services delivering to our travellers but also makes our own business more relevant in the ever changing landscape of the travel industry and makes our service to our travel agents more relevant as they look to compete," he said. "It's part of our long-term vertical integration strategy."
The firm has opened two new offices in the destination – one in Luang Prabang and the other in Vientiane.
Anthony Giblin, the country manager that set up Travel Indochina's operations in Cambodia, will return to the firm to head up the local team, taking the reigns from current Laos country manager Jenn Brown who will be redeployed elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Hole reported rising sales from the Australian market, although off a small base, with ongoing investment into the country's tourism infrastructure set to see that growth continue over coming years.
"There's been a supply issue affecting everything from gateways to hotels," he revealed. "But over the next couple of years, the country will become more ready to service the existing interest."
He highlighted a new runway and a "plethora" of new high end boutique properties that have sprung up over the last 12 to 18 months as important developments for the local industry that will enable Travel Indochina to better service demand.
The JV takes Travel Indochina's regional presence to 95 staff across seven offices and coincides with the expansion of its Saigon office and the opening of a new space in Central Vietnam's Danang.