Luang Prabang packed out

VIENTIANE, 31 March 2017: Luang Prabng province claims it will welcome 500,000 domestic and overseas tourists during the Lao Lunar New Year celebrated mid-April, according to the official Laos News Agency (KPL).

If the forecast is accurate the tiny World Heritage town will be swamped with tourists; hotels will be turning guests away.

Restaurants will not be able to cope and the small three parallel streets that make up the inner district will gridlocked; cars and motor cycles bumper- to-bumper.

The estimate is a typical tourist board exaggeration based on ballpark estimates and wild guesses.

Challenging the forecast’s accuracy, a check of indicates most hotels are still offering discounts around 20% to 30% off earlier online rates, with each stating they have three to four rooms open for bookings 13 to 15 April. Agoda features 220 Luang Prabang hotels and guesthouses  on its site.

Another inconvenient statistic for the officials who dream up visitor arrivals  is the one that states Luang Prabang has 4,542 rooms including hotels and guesthouses. If they are all packed with visitors sharing twin-bedded rooms and staying just one night,  a ballpark estimate would give the world heritage town  just over 9,000 visitors nightly. Repeat that impossible situation for five nights and  the town could muster 50,000 visitors over the holiday, a far cry from 500,000.  But sky high statistics keep budgets flowing.

The Information, Culture and Tourism Division of Luang Prabang province said that the Lao New Year festivities will begin with a trade fair 10 April.

A Miss Lao New Year contest follows 11 to 12 April and a Miss Lao New Year or Nang Sangkhan parade is scheduled for 15 April along the town’s main street.

This year’s Nang Sangkhan parade in Luang Prabang will focus in promoting the Visit Laos Year 2018.



  1. A prize for the most ridiculous tourism statistic of 2017 goes to the Lao News Agency. The fantasists at TAT will never beat this one.

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