The Luang Prabang Tourism Authority says over 260,000 tourists visited Laos' former capital during the first nine months of the fiscal year 2007-08, generating revenues of more than 66 million dollars in the business, service and tourist sectors.
Mr. Khamphoui Phommavong, head of the Luang Prabang Tourism Authority, says the city's status as a World Heritage site is the major factor that attracts tourists who keep coming in an increasing number, which led his office to predict that more than 340,000 visitors will have visited Luang Prabang by the end of the current fiscal year.
The city boasts 50 cultural and 31 historical sites, in addition to 51 natural beauty attractions for its visitors. It has 31 hotels and 218 guest houses capable to accommodate 3,000 visitors a night.
Tourism officials say they expect the number of tourists to increase to more than 640,000 by 2015, so they are making plans to upgrade their hotels, guest houses, restaurants, and build new ones, as well as develop and expand more tourist attraction sites.
However, UNESCO has issued a warning to Lao authorities not to over expand the World Heritage site, or risk losing that status. It has presented Laos a warning with 15 criteria to follow.
Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao.