VIENTIANE, 29 February 2016: Lao Association of Travel Agencies (LATA) is urging transport authorities to ensure travel agencies conduct regular safety checks on ehicles following a tragic bus and minivan collision, last week, which killed four Korean tourists.
The road accident in Kasi district, Vientiane province, killed the Lao driver of a minivan in addition to the four Koreans and injured two other passengers. Another 22 passengers were injured in the bus involved in the collision.
Vientiane Times quoted LATA’s management committee, Somphong Dayviengxay, saying safety should be a top priority for all travel agencies.
Kasi,where the accident occurred is around 60 km north of Vang Vieng on the popular tourist route to Luang Prabang.
It is predicted that the number of foreign visitors to the country will reach 4.6 million by 2016, so transport authorities and tourism bodies need to ensure transport options are safe and drivers are well-trained and responsible, the report added.
According to Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, there were 4.3 million international arrivals to the country last year, up 4.88% from 4.1 million in 2014. The trips generated USD670 million in revenue.
Thai nationals represented the biggest market followed by Vietnamese and Chinese.
Laos’ safety road safety record is superior to Thailand, but roads are poorly maintained even on tourist routes. According to a study on global road safety in 2015, the World Health Organisation designated Thailand the world’s second most dangerous country for road deaths with 36.2 fatalities per 100,000 people.
WHO said the latest official data, issued in 2012, showed road deaths in Thailand reached 14,059. But they added that their modeling suggested the true figure was actually closer to 24,000 dead a year.