A big jump in South Korean tourist arrivals in Laos is being attributed to the lure of new golf courses in Luang Prabang, the ancient capital, and in Vientiane.
Korean investors have built and now manage several golf courses in the land-locked communist country, where land and water are still abundant and labour is cheap.
Golf course fees in Laos are a fraction of what they are in South Korea, where the game is a national passion.
Lao Association of Travel Agents president Khamtan Kheungpanya also attributed the surge to the commencement of direct flights last year between Vientiane and Seoul, the Vientiane Times reports.
According to figures gathered by the Tourism Development Department, the number of Korean tourists visiting Laos from January to September 2012 was almost 40,000, representing a 50% increase compared to the same period the previous year.
An estimated three million tourists overall visited Laos last year, up 14% year-on-year.
Laos, which ranks among the world’s poorest countries, has focused on developing hydropower and tourism as its two main engines of economic growth.
Source: Bangkok Post