Laos expects tourism boom

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Buddha Park_Laos_Arno MaierbruggerAbout 3.9 million foreign tourists are expected to arrive in Laos in 2014 according to new forecasts and modeling, an official in the sector has announced. The new forecast comes after some 3.7 million visitors arrived in Laos in 2013, a figure that exceeded expectations as officials predicted 3.5 and 3.7 million visitors for 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Deputy Head of the Tourism Analysis and Administration Division Mr Bounthavy Sisava told Vientiane Times that the forecast, which is made until 2020, is revised every year. The 2013 revised forecast, which forecasts until 2020, has not been completed, according to him. The forecast is made in accordance with the formula provided by the World Tourism Organisation based on tourist arrival statistics collected over the past five years.

The 2013 tourist arrivals of 3,779,490 represented a big increase compared to 2012 when Laos welcomed just over 3.3 million visitors, who generated $513.5 million for the economy. Officials said there has been a trend that Laos will continue to welcome large numbers of tourists to the country, despite the political unrest in Thailand which has affected tourism in the region.

Airlines and tour operators in Laos have suggested that tourists from Europe and other parts of the world, who normally transit through Bangkok, Thailand have now changed their routes to Vietnam Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia and China, with which Laos has direct flight connections.

Surprisingly, the country has witnessed an increase in the numbers of tourists from neighbouring Thailand to Laos in December, compared with the same period last year. Bounthavy noted that political turmoil in Thailand was likely the factor that made more Thai visitors come to Laos, with Thailand traditionally dominating visitor arrivals but not all of them are tourists though.

In 2013, Thai visitors arriving in Laos reached more than 2 million, representing more than half of total tourist arrivals in Laos for the year. Officials said there have been many reasons contributing to the big increase in foreign tourist arrivals to Laos.

Hosting the Asean Tourism Forum early last year was among the factors that boosted and helped propel robust growth. In addition, Laos succeeded in organising the Visit Laos Year 2012 campaign, in which a number of tourism promotion campaigns were carried out to promote the greater tourism industry.

More recently, the European Council on Tourism and Trade awarded Laos as ‘World’s Best Tourist Destination for 2013,’ which helped to raise the Lao tourism profile and drive tourism growth. So far, Laos has boasted around 700 tourist sites which are being operated in provinces across the country featuring cultural, historical and natural attractions. Bounthavy said an additional 800 sites have the potential to be developed as tourism attractions.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

About 3.9 million foreign tourists are expected to arrive in Laos in 2014 according to new forecasts and modeling, an official in the sector has announced. The new forecast comes after some 3.7 million visitors arrived in Laos in 2013, a figure that exceeded expectations as officials predicted 3.5 and 3.7 million visitors for 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Buddha Park_Laos_Arno MaierbruggerAbout 3.9 million foreign tourists are expected to arrive in Laos in 2014 according to new forecasts and modeling, an official in the sector has announced. The new forecast comes after some 3.7 million visitors arrived in Laos in 2013, a figure that exceeded expectations as officials predicted 3.5 and 3.7 million visitors for 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Deputy Head of the Tourism Analysis and Administration Division Mr Bounthavy Sisava told Vientiane Times that the forecast, which is made until 2020, is revised every year. The 2013 revised forecast, which forecasts until 2020, has not been completed, according to him. The forecast is made in accordance with the formula provided by the World Tourism Organisation based on tourist arrival statistics collected over the past five years.

The 2013 tourist arrivals of 3,779,490 represented a big increase compared to 2012 when Laos welcomed just over 3.3 million visitors, who generated $513.5 million for the economy. Officials said there has been a trend that Laos will continue to welcome large numbers of tourists to the country, despite the political unrest in Thailand which has affected tourism in the region.

Airlines and tour operators in Laos have suggested that tourists from Europe and other parts of the world, who normally transit through Bangkok, Thailand have now changed their routes to Vietnam Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia and China, with which Laos has direct flight connections.

Surprisingly, the country has witnessed an increase in the numbers of tourists from neighbouring Thailand to Laos in December, compared with the same period last year. Bounthavy noted that political turmoil in Thailand was likely the factor that made more Thai visitors come to Laos, with Thailand traditionally dominating visitor arrivals but not all of them are tourists though.

In 2013, Thai visitors arriving in Laos reached more than 2 million, representing more than half of total tourist arrivals in Laos for the year. Officials said there have been many reasons contributing to the big increase in foreign tourist arrivals to Laos.

Hosting the Asean Tourism Forum early last year was among the factors that boosted and helped propel robust growth. In addition, Laos succeeded in organising the Visit Laos Year 2012 campaign, in which a number of tourism promotion campaigns were carried out to promote the greater tourism industry.

More recently, the European Council on Tourism and Trade awarded Laos as ‘World’s Best Tourist Destination for 2013,’ which helped to raise the Lao tourism profile and drive tourism growth. So far, Laos has boasted around 700 tourist sites which are being operated in provinces across the country featuring cultural, historical and natural attractions. Bounthavy said an additional 800 sites have the potential to be developed as tourism attractions.

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