Source: Vientiane Times
The number of tourists from within the region and further afield who enter Laos by road has increased significantly over the past five years, a survey has revealed.
The survey was carried out by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, in which 2,820 visitors were interviewed between April and December 2016 as a representative sample.
Deputy Minister Mr Ounthuang Khaophanh told Vientiane Times the survey provided useful data for government agencies as they attempt to further improve tourism-related services.
“If more tourists arrive by air, we might have to invest more in expanding air services to satisfy demand. If people come by road, we might have to invest more in improving our road and bus services as well as the services provided at border crossings to make these modes of transport and points of entry more attractive,” he said.
According to the survey, in 2011 the number of tourists coming to Laos by road accounted for 51.2 percent of the total with the remaining 48.8 percent arriving by plane.
However, in the past five years the number of tourists arriving by road has increased considerably, reaching 74.2 percent in 2016. Conversely, the proportion entering Laos by air transport represented 25.8 percent.
The change could be attributed to Laos’ improved roads and the opening of more border crossings, as well as the building of more roads linking to neighbouring countries.
There are also more bus services operating within Laos and connecting to its neighbours, which tourists are taking advantage of.
Earlier this month, a new daily bus service opened between Thailand’s Nan province and Luang Prabang province, crossing the Lao-Thai border in Xayaboury province.
The bus journey takes about 10 hours over a distance of 373 kilometres, with the addition of this service making it easier for people to travel between the northern regions of Laos and Thailand.
The survey also found that many more people aged 60 and above had taken holidays in Laos over the past five years.
In 2011, the number of tourists in this age group accounted for only 11.3 percent of the total, but rose to 18.5 percent in 2016.
Conversely, the proportion of younger people visiting Laos has declined. In 2011, the percentage aged 20-29 accounted for 41.5 percent, but dropped to 28.5 percent in 2016.
When categorised by occupation, the largest percentage of tourists worked for private companies. This group represented 32.8 percent of the total in 2011, rising to 35 percent in 2016, according to the survey.
The proportion of tourists who were retired was 8.8 percent in 2011, rising to 13.8 percent in 2016.
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