VIENTIANE, July 30 (Xinhua) -- The Visit Laos-China Year 2019 tourism promotion has proved successful in driving up visitor numbers, local daily Vientiane Times on Tuesday quoted Lao tourism officials as saying.
More than 2.2 million people visited Laos in the first six months of 2019, up about 5 percent compared to 2018, according to Tourism Development Department, Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. An official in charge told local media he believed visitor numbers were up because of the ongoing Visit Laos-China Year campaign.
Visitors from China had increased by 13 percent and Vietnamese visitors by 11 percent, although the number of visitors from Thailand rose by only 1 percent.
Officials expect that more than one million Chinese out of an overall total of 4.5 million visitors will come to Laos during Visit Laos-China Year 2019.
To reach Lao government's target of 4.5 million tourists, provinces have improved their services and created more visitor facilities. They have also arranged various activities and upgraded tourist sites.
Vangvieng district of Vientiane Province, some 110 km north of Vientiane, has improved the quality of services and made changes to the price of food, accommodation and the fees charged at tourist attractions.
In Luang Prabang province, some 220 km north of Vientiane capital, restaurants have added Chinese dishes to their menus and signs written in Chinese have been installed at popular tourist sites.
In Luang Namtha province, some 360 km north of Vientiane capital, the authorities have improved services at the border crossing with China and are encouraging officials to supply useful information to Chinese visitors.
Laos has 670 hotels, 2,432 resorts and guesthouses, 2,646 restaurants and 305 entertainment venues, according to a 2018 statistics report from the Tourism Development Department.
There are also 1,318 officially designated nature-based sites, 596 cultural attractions and 294 places of historical interest. Of these, 817 are operational, 1,040 are registered, and 590 are under development.