Visits take a tumble in Laos

VIENTIANE, 31 July 2018: Visitor arrivals to Laos took a 9% tumble during 2017 according to the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

Released last week, the only surprise was the lengthy time it took for the country to tot up such a small volume.

The data is hardly relevant to the situation this month, although at the recent Mekong Tourism Forum in June officials said 2018 would deliver recovery in tourist arrivals.

Officials talked about a small 2 to 3% improvement this year. But that was before massive storms, floods and the collapse of a dam in southern Laos.

The annual decline in tourist arrivals was already logged in 2016 and the same negative trend persisted in 2017, blamed mainly on poor arrivals from ASEAN neighbours.

Total visitor arrivals in 2017 were down 9% to 3.9 million, while ASEAN arrivals sank by 11%.

The biggest declines from the ASEAN region were registered in the Thailand market, down by 11% to 1.8 million and from Vietnam down 11% to 891,643 visits.

Outside of ASEASN, visits from China bucked the negative trend, up by 17% with 639,185 visits. Most of the travel from China is generated by low-priced package tours heading for Luang Prabang and an increase in overland travel.

Other markets:

Asia and Pacific: 884,875, +6%;
China: 639,185, +17%;
South Korea: 170,571, -2%;
Europe: 161,194, -27%;
France: 36,760, -33%;
UK: 27,723, -29%;
Germany: 23,776, -30%;
Americas: 64,227, -26%;
US: 38,765, -33%;
Canada: 13,467, -30%;
Africa and Middle East: 11,446, +2%.