Laos records almost​ 1.7 million foreign tourists in first six months of 2023


Thai visitors climb up get a good view of the Tad Fan waterfall in Champassak province. - Laophattana newspaper

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Almost​ 1.7 million foreign tourists spent time in Laos in the first six months of this year, with Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese​ nationals topping the list.

Statistics compiled by the Tourism Marketing Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism showed that 668,595 visitors came from Thailand, 398,937 from Vietnam,​ 317,634 from China, 72,958 from the Republic of Korea, 30,455 from the USA, 18,145 from the United Kingdom, and 18,794 from France.

The number of visitors has increased hugely compared to the first six months of last year, when only 211,971 foreign tourists came to Laos.

Since the government reopened the country to foreign travellers and the Laos-China Railway came into service, people from other countries have flocked to Laos, according to an official who asked​ not​ to be named.

The railway is a very popular means of travel and passes through Luang Prabang and Oudomxay provinces, which have many places of interest to tourists, including adventure activities.

Tourism authorities and operators have improved services at hotels, guesthouses and restaurants, and added more facilities at tourist sites, to provide a better and more interesting visitor experience.

The government and local businesses have joined forces to promote tourism and access a broader audience through international exhibitions, Asean tourism fairs, and the development of new tourism products.

Laos’ tourist attractions have also been hailed in foreign newspapers and magazines, so that more people are aware of what the country has to offer, as well as its affordable prices.

The country’s special features have been cited in several foreign publications and websites, with river trips through the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park in Huaphan province listed among the world’s top 10 best night safaris in an article posted on the Condé Nast Traveler website in February.

In March, Luang Prabang was recommended by the American magazine Time as one of the 50 greatest places to visit in 2023.

The magazine called Luang Prabang “a hidden paradise”, saying the turquoise waterfalls, Buddhist temples, and sunset boat trips on the Mekong River are just a few of the province’s highlights.

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