Trips to Laos grow in Q1
BANGKOK, 17 May 2012: Tourist arrivals to Laos improved 11% during the first quarter of 2012, according to a Lao Information, Culture and Tourism Ministry report released earlier this week.
During January to March, the country welcomed 846,564 international tourists, up11.34% over the same period last year.
ASEAN markets contributed 78.28% of all international tourists visiting the country, growing 10.92% on 662,713 visits. The largest source country, neighbouring Thailand, continued to grow at 11.04% with 479,323 trips.
Two-way tourism, between the two countries, has been boosted by improved roads and bridge links. The next bridge to open is the fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in Chiang Rai province in late 2012. It should continue the positive tourism trends between the two countries. A fifth bridge has gained approval by the two countries, while more temporary checkpoints will also be upgraded to international status.
The second top source market, Vietnam, supplied 169,501 tourists, an increase of 9.6%. Contribution from the rest of ASEAN countries were very small, ranging from 110 to 4,400 trips.
Also European markets, once the lifeline of Lao tourism, are falling behind ASEAN markets indicating there has been a significant swing in customer profiles. A decade ago French, Swiss, German and British tourists were the top visitors.
However, arrivals from countries in the Asia-Pacific region, except ASEAN, flourished overall at 26.08% trips (100,976) with China and Korea growing at a fast pace, 33.7% (60,146) and 42.66% (13,922) respectively. Australians were also an important source supplying 11,517 trips, increasing substantially by 18.84%.
As for Europe, arrivals from this region dropped marginally by 1.76% supplying 58,438 tourists. Several country markets reported declines including the important German market (-10.28%, 7,037). The rest supplied less than 2,000 a year.
Only two of the European countries, identified in the report, achieved double digit growth: Russia, 11.19% (2,326) and Denmark, 14.34% (2,033).
American markets grew 5.34% supplying 22,334 tourists; of which, 67.81% came from the United States,( 15,144 arrivals increasing 3.45%). Canada showed an impressive improvement of 11.54% to 5,442.
The smallest markets, Africa and the Middle East dropped minimally, 0.24% to 2,103. The only identified source country was Israel. The numbers fell by 13.5% to 1,115.