VIENTIANE, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Lao Airlines believes that the number of Chinese customers could surge to 241,500 this year.
This will be an increase of about 42 percent compared to 2018 when the Chinese nationals made 170,500 flight reservations, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Tuesday.
An official from the Lao national flag carrier's commercial department said, "We're expecting a significant increase this year because Laos' tourist attractions are becoming more well-known and there are more activities of interest to tourists. These are being promoted by the Lao government and private sectors as well as our airlines for Visit Laos-China Year."
"We're also offering special promotions on tickets purchased in the early part of this year. And we have special prices for groups, which vary depending on the route," he added.
Lao Airlines now has more flights to China than to any other country and China is the airline's main market.
Lao Airlines has 21 direct flights to China each week. From capital Vientiane seven flights go to Kunming, three to Guangzhou, two to Changsha, three to Chengdu, one to Changzhou, one to Shanghai, one to Wenzhou, and two to Jinghong. There is also a flight from Luang Prabang to Changsha, said the report.
"Visit Laos-China Year will benefit our business because the demand for air transport will rise accordingly. We will earn more revenues from the increase in customers," he added.
Lao Airlines plans to increase the number of flights from capital Vientiane to Shanghai from one to four each week to meet the anticipated customer demand this year.
Last year, Lao Airlines opened a new sector from Vientiane-Luang Prabang-Changsha in China's Hunan province, aiming to attract more Chinese travellers.
Lao Airlines has seen a steady increase in the number of customers from China, rising from 145,615 people in 2017 to 170,500 last year.