A view of Luang Prabang of Laos (Photo: visit-laos.com)

Vientiane (VNA) – Laos might not realise its goal of receiving 5 million tourists this year, said Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Bosengkham Vongdala said at a recent parliament’s session as quoted by the major Lao newspaper Pathet Lao.

Accordingly, the number of visitors to the country in 2018 is estimated to exceed 4 million. In the first half of the year, the figure was 2.1 million. However, the tourism sector has been hit hard by the dam collapse incident in Champasak province coupled with floods and natural disasters in several localities. As of September 2018, the country welcomed just about 2.9 million arrivals.

Minister Bosengkham Vongdala said the reasons behind also included slow development of traffic infrastructure for tourist destinations due to capital shortage, limited supply of air travel services, and slow upgrade of tourism sites.

He also mentioned slow process of adjusting local entry and exit regulations to facilitate tourism growth.

Previously, the Lao Government set to attract around 5 million tourists and earn 900 million USD from tourism this year.

In 2000, the country greeted only 737,208 visitors and earned revenues of 113.9 million USD. In 2015, the figures were 4.68 million visitors and 725.4 million USD.

It is estimated that the number of tourists to the country will hit over 6.2 million who bring in revenues of over 993.4 million USD by 2020.-VNA