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Nation’s visitor shortfall put down to multiple causes

Xepha waterfall in Sanamxay district, Attapeu province is one of many tourist sites that was affected by natural disasters this year. – Photo Tou

Annual visitor arrivals are expected to reach just 4 million, well short of the government’s target of around 5 million to mark its Visit Laos Year 2018, a minister has told the National Assembly.
Causes of the visitor shortfall included natural disasters across many provinces and the flow on effects to tourism, the facilitation of tourism development is still not good enough, and the rollout of infrastructure development such as roads to tourist sites is slow with insufficient budget, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara told the Assembly’s ongoing sixth ordinary session recently.
Other challenges consisted of limited air services to transport visitors, sluggish tourist attraction development, along with slow service through immigration points and at tourist sites.

Although authorities have made improvements compared to the past problems still remained, he added.
To help address these issues and increase visitor numbers next year, the ministry will focus on promotion especially to Chinese tourists under the planned Visit Laos-China Year 2019, the minister said.
The ministry in cooperation with Chinese authorities will conduct colourful activities as well as improve the quality of hotels and restaurants. In addition, the ministry is cooperating with Information, Culture and Tourism Departments across the country to raise service standards in anticipation of the influx of Chinese tourists.
The government has set a target to increase the number of Chinese visitors from 400,000 to 1 million and will attract about 5 million visitors in total for 2019, Prof. Dr Bosengkham reported.
More than 2.9 million people vacationed in Laos in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year, according to the Tourism Development Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Meanwhile, Thailand welcomed 22,657,730 visitors for January-July 2018, up 11 per cent over the same period in 2017, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand Newsroom website.
For the first nine months of 2018, just under 11.62 million international visitors visited Vietnam, representing an increase of 23 percent versus the same nine-month period of 2017, according to online Airline Network News & Analysis.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update December 7, 2018)