More than 42,190 foreign nationals entered Laos on tourist visas in the first six months of this year, but only a small proportion of these came from Europe, America and other continents.
Luang Prabang Hotel and Guesthouse Association president Toun Sisouphanthavong yesterday attributed the small number of tourists from Europe and other distant regions to several factors.
She cited the Ukraine-Russia conflict, which had resulted in an economic downturn in some countries, the limited number of flights to Laos and continuing Covid-19-related issues.
“The Covid-19 pandemic made it difficult for travel agents and tour companies to make long-term marketing plans or arrange package tours for visitors from Europe as flights could be cancelled at any time,” Toun said.
“Although Lao Airlines has resumed flights to neighbouring countries, there are not the same number of connecting flights as before the pandemic.”
Toun said wealthy older or retired people in Europe were reluctant to take the risk of travelling because of unreliable and expensive flights and other uncertainties.
In addition, Europe is suffering from high inflation and the spiralling cost of living has discouraged people from spending money on travel abroad. — Vientiane Times/ANN