Photo shows (left to right) Mr. Rudolf Domingo (Pancake House and Yellow Cab); Mr. Jake L. Santos (PFA); Mr. Ricky Montelibano (Potato Corner); Mr. Jojo Montinola (Potato Corner); Mr. Jose Magsaysay, Jr. (Potato Corner); Amb. Ma Lumen Isleta; Mr. Sisavath Thilavong, LNCCI President; Mr. Daovone Pachantavong, LNCCI Vice President and Chairman of the Lao-Philippines Business Council; and Dr. Alan Escalona (Fruit Magic and PFA Director for External Relations and Advocacy).

As part of enhanced efforts to bring Philippine franchise brands to new markets, the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) recently sent a business mission to Vientiane, Lao PDR, to explore expansion opportunities in the said country. Lao PDR is one of the four newer member states of ASEAN also known as CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam). While its main growth drivers are hydropower, mining and agro-forestry, there is also high potential for Philippine franchises in the said country because of the population’s growing prosperity and its increasing tourist arrivals, which has been growing at a rate of about 20% annually since 2008. In 2012 there were a total of 3.3 million visitors to Lao PDR.

The business mission also signalled PFA’s commitment to prepare members of the impending ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) not only in terms of preparing PFA members of the influx of other ASEAN franchises but also to help PFA members expand to other ASEAN countries – even in the non-traditional destinations for expansion.

The said business delegation, headed by Dr. Alan Escalona, Director for External Relations and Advocacy of PFA, engaged in market scanning and meetings with business groups including a lunch meeting hosted by Ambassador Ma Lumen B. Isleta at Don Chan Palace Hotel for the visiting Philippine delegation and key officers of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI).

The Association also participated in the Made in Laos Exhibit held at the Lao International Trade and Convention Center, where PFA promoted Philippine franchise brands going international. It should be noted the PFA was the only non-Laotian exhibitor in the said event.