The meetings industry is small in Laos, but it is growing. The country's economy continues to boom, and the number of foreign visitors is increasing rapidly, from 80,000 in 1990 to 1.876 million last year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. While the ancient capital of Luang Prabang in northern Laos has been the major draw for foreign visitors, the capital, Vientiane, in central Laos, is attracting a growing number of business travellers. Thomas Pillai, general manager of the Settha Palace Hotel, a luxury property with facilities for small meetings and events in Vientiane, says there is demand for small events venues. 'Foreign investors are coming in, and there is a lot of training, especially in the environmental, hydropower, agriculture, mining and security fields,' says Pillai, who adds that 15 per cent of business is from MICE bookings. Christopher Yeo, general manager of Mercure Vientiane, which has venues for larger conferences and events, says that while the sector is growing, it is at a slow pace. 'Most of our bookings are coming domestically, although there are some from abroad,' he says.