Ministry: Tourist arrivals in Q1 decline
The government has a strong willingness to bolster an increase in the number of tourist arrivals as it means greater income generation which contributes to the nation’s socio-economic development.
However, tourist arrivals to Laos in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 have been recorded at 1.11 million visitors, a decrease from the 1.24 million people seen in the same period last year, the latest data shows.
Information which was updated by the Tourism Development Department under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
The department also released information that tourists from the Asia and the Pacific region totaled about 1.03 million people, a decline from 1.13 million last year, while the number of foreign tourists from Asean countries was over 763,000 people, down from about 866,000 people last year.
However, the ministry has said that tourist arrivals this year are projected to hit 4.89 million people, rising from 4.23 million tourists last year which sees the ministry gearing up to work with provincial authorities to focus on the development of tourism sites as well as boosting the tourism potential of each province nationwide.
In the strategic plan of the ministry, it plans to draw 7.51 million tourists by 2025 through collaboration with its neighbours including Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
This grouping of countries, otherwise known as CLMVT, is intending to strengthen their cooperation in promoting tourism within the framework of Asean integration.
Meanwhile Laos’ Tourism Development Department is implementing its plan on the development of tourist sites across Laos from 2013 to 2020 to ensure it is able to achieve the goal of attracting 5.88 million visitors by 2020.
Laos currently has more than 1,900 tourist sites including both developed and undeveloped sites, which display the country’s natural, historical and cultural attractions.
The slight drop in revenue from tourism, which fell from US$725 million in 2015 to US$724 million last year, posed a challenge for the ministry, which has now doubled its efforts in promoting Laos’ tourism potential.
Laos received just over 4.23 million foreign visitors in 2016, down from 4.68 in 2015, and below the targeted 4.7 million people for 2016.
It is believed that transportation costs, food prices, and the cost of other services in Laos, which are higher than in neighbouring countries, were given as reasons for foreign tourists selecting neighbouring countries as holiday destinations.