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indochinaexplorer 23.04.14

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Record Lao visitors to Thailand

Record Lao visitors to Thailand

-- By Imtiaz Muqbil

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In what will go down as one of the most stunning reversals of fortune in the history of global travel & tourism, the landlocked country of Laos has recorded the largest growth in arrivals to Thailand in the first quarter of 2014 over the same period of 2013.

A sharp growth of 62.8% in arrivals recorded in March alone raised the total figure of Laotian arrivals for the first quarter January-March 2014 period to 331,176, up 39.21% over the same period of 2013, according to figures released by the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports on April 21.

The figures were a major saving grace for Thai tourism arrivals which otherwise sank by -9.39% to 2,104,072 in March 2014 and -5.85% to 6,598,240 in Jan-March 2014. This is due to the continuing fallout from the political crisis that hit the country between November 2013 to February 2014. However, the vast majority of the downturn has been concentrated on arrivals to Bangkok as the first point of entry.

In terms of actual numbers, Laos, a country that is classified by the United Nations as one of the world’s least developed, became the fourth largest source of visitors to Thailand in Jan-March 2014, after China, Russia and Malaysia, overtaking both Japan and Korea. This was up from ninth spot in Jan-March 2013.

The majority of Laotian arrivals would have been overland, via the four Friendship bridges that now span the Thai-Lao border across the Mekong River. While most Laotian visitors would have low average lengths of stay or daily expenditures, they would still have contributed significantly to hotel occupancies in Thailand’s northeastern border provinces.


Published  :   23-04-14
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