Lao outbound travelers made more than 3.05 million trips in 2016 and more people are suggested to have made longer-distance trips in foreign countries, according to the Tourism Development Department under Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on Tuesday.
The figure posted a slight decreased from more than 3.06 million trips and the 3.3 million trips recorded in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
Of the 2016's outbound travellers, more than 1.46 million people, or about half of the total, travelled abroad through the first Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge's border gate. The statistics, collected from 14 international checkpoints across Laos, showed that those Lao provinces sharing borders with Thailand have registered the highest numbers in terms of people crossing their checkpoints when travelling abroad. However the statistics did not specify the destinations of the travellers.
Lao officials and tour operators have noted that the increasing incomes and well-being of Lao people has enabled them to take vacations abroad. Meanwhile, tour operators said package tours to the South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan have been popular destinations for Lao outbound tourists, reported Lao state-run media Vientiane Times.
A government's report showed that Laos' average gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has increased to 2,027 U.S. dollars in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The figure is expected to rise further to 2,341 U.S. dollars by 2017.
GDP per capita is expected to reach 3,100 U.S. dollars in 2020 when Lao population is expected to reach 7.3 million.
According to the Tourism Development Department, the number of Lao nationals travelling by planes increased to the highest level in 2016 compared to the previous years. Lao nationals traveling through Wattay International Airport in capital Vientiane climbed to 81,800 people in 2016, up from 81,064 people and 76,985 people in 2015 and 2014 respectively.