Phongsali optimistic about tourism


PHONGSALI, 31 March 2017: Phongsali tourism authorities count visits and conclude tourism is moving forward, although the province is located in a remote part of Laos with limited airline access.

Vientiane Times in a tourism report noted that tourist arrivals to the province have risen from around 82,000 visits in 2015 to 103,583 in 2016.

The province’s tourism section official, Khamphanh Soudaphone, was quoted saying the province was not on a popular tourist route, but still managed to attract European visitors looking for soft adventure.

Europeans visit the province for trekking to hilltribe villages and boat trips along Nam Ou River down to Luang Prabang, he said.

The top source markets in Asia are China, Vietnam and Thailand all supplying overland travellers.

Provincial authorities are confident the positive trend will continue with at least 110,000 visitors in 2017, 118,000 in 2018, and a further jump to 126,000 tourists in 2019.

Visitor numbers started to pick up over the past four years, climbing to about 57,000 in 2013, 70,000 in 2014, and 82,000 people in 2015.

The figures were collected from two international border crossings; the Lantui-Meuangkham entry point for people coming from China, and the Pang Hok-Tay Trang crossing for people entering Phongsali from Vietnam, as well as from the province’s airport, the report said.

Lao Skyway operates flights between Vientiane and Phongsali on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The province is located in the extreme north of the country between Yunnan in China, and Dien Bien province in Vietnam. The province borders China to the north and west, Vietnam to the east, Luang Prabang province to the south, and Oudomxai province to the southwest.

The population is made up of 28 different ethnic groups, with the majority being Khmu, Phounoy, several different Akha groups, Tai Lue, and Hor.