Visiting places of natural beauty is the main interest of tourists coming to Laos, according to a survey of over 3,100 international visitors that featured in the 2012 Statistics Report on Tourism in Laos.

The World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang and the greater province was the main place that tourists wanted to see, with 61 percent of people selecting it on the multiple choice questionnaire.

The Tourism Development Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism carried out the survey from February to December 2012 at Wattay International Airport, the International Friendship Bridge, and in Luang Prabang and Champassak provinces.

The survey also shows that the second main area of interest for tourists is cultural attractions, with 52 percent of people selecting this as one of their preferences.

Others also highlighted the importance of a visit to individual sites such as temples and monuments, which 41 percent of people chose.

Newly developed destinations were marked on 23 percent of the surveys given and experiencing local foods was mentioned by 22 percent of those surveyed.

When tourists were asked to select the area they wished to visit, Vientiane came in second after Luang Prabang with 53 percent of the vote, followed by Champassak province and Bokeo province.

The survey also highlighted the information sources that influenced tourists’ decisions on where to visit. Just over half of the respondents asked for friends’ advice, followed by the internet with 32 percent, and books and magazines with 30 percent. Visitor figures are increasing each year. In 2006, 1.2 million people visited Laos, rising to 2.5 million in 2010 and 3.3 million in 2012.

The government estimates that tourist arrivals could reach over 3.5 million next year and as many as 4.5 million people in 2020.

Source: Vientiane Times
May 15, 2013