VIENTIANE, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Laos welcomed 4.58 million international visitors in 2019, representing growth of nine percent over 2018 when tourist numbers failed to reach the target.
Local daily Vientiane Times on Wednesday quoted Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department under Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Sounh Manivong, as saying that much of the success was due to the Visit Laos-China Year 2019 campaign.
Chinese tourists alone increased by 27 percent or 1.02 million people.
Visitors from Thailand -- the main source of Laos' tourists -- rose by six percent while Vietnamese visitors increased by 11 percent. Tourist arrivals from many high-end countries also increased, with the number coming from the United States rising by 22 percent, while visitors from Britain also increased by 22 percent.
The number of French visitors rose by 11 percent, while German tourists increased by 13 percent, said the report.
In comparison, visitor numbers from South Korea dropped by one percent, the number from Denmark fell by 27 percent, Swiss visitors declined by 18 percent, and the number from Finland plummeted by 28 percent.
Northern Laos' Luang Prabang province, some 220 km north of the capital Vientiane, ranks 11th in Architectural Digest's annual list of the top 20 places to travel in 2020, which will help push the department's target of 4.9 million visitors for this year.
Nevertheless, the Tourism Marketing Department will continue promoting Laos at major international tourism exhibitions in China and Europe.
According to the department, Laos has 670 hotels, 2,432 guesthouses and resorts, 2,646 restaurants and 305 entertainment venues. There are numerous officially designated tourist attractions including 1,318 nature-based sites, 596 places of cultural interest, and 294 places of historical significance.