VIENTIANE, 8 May 2017: Lao PDR’s Ministry of Planning and Investment in its latest report states there are 2,100 tourist sites in Laos that are either attracting tourists, or have the potential to do so.
Lao News Agency reported there are almost 1,200 ecotourism sites, 600 cultural sites and almost 300 historical sites including two World Heritage sites, but most of them lack basic infrastructure such as roads and many of the ecotourism sites are only of value for local tourists.
The figures are based on a survey conducted during 2015 to 2016.
Three natural destinations that appeal to international tourists have been identified as Tad Champee, a waterfall in Paksong district, Champasak province, Pou Kham Cave in Vang Vieng district, Vientiane province and Namueang hot spring in Houa Mueang district, Huaphan province.
Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism plans to develop tourist attractions across the country through to 2020 to offer more travel choices and attract more visitors to the country.
Each province will have to develop 20 tourism sites through to 2020, while the ministry will develop 23 tourism sites.
The number of international tourists visiting Laos decreased by 10% from over 4.68 million in 2015 to 4.2 million last year.
The reduction was attributed to the decline in Thai and Vietnamese visits, two markets that contribute 50% of all foreign visitors to Laos.
Last year, tourism revenue estimated at USD724 million dropped slightly from USD725 million in 2015, according to data from the Tourism Development Department. Authorities forecast 6 million tourists a year will visit the country by 2020.