Laos’ World Heritage City, Luang Prabang, has returned as the world’s most preferred tourist destination. Meanwhile, a Lao minister expresses confidence that the number of tourists visiting his country will increase by hundreds of thousands this year.
The Wanderlust Travel magazine says Luang Prabang is the place most tourists would like to visit in 2010, based on a survey of its worldwide readership. This is the 4th time that the Lao World Heritage City has won the top ranking since it occupied that position three consecutive years from 2006 to 2008.
Luang Prabang fell to seventh place in 2009, because the city was not able to maintain its beauty as so many constructions and renovations of buildings were going on in the city that UNESCO had to warn Lao authorities that they need to take urgent actions make the city comply with its world heritage requirements. UNESCO granted Luang Prabang that status in 1995. In 2009, only some 344.000 tourists visited Luang Prabang, a 30% drop from 2008.
Lao authorities are confident that Luang Prabang's ranking as the world's most preferred tourist destination, combined with the Lao government's implementation of a policy to promote historical and cultural tourism as well as ecotourism, will attract hundreds of thousand more tourists to the city in 2010.
The Lao Tourism Authority expects up to two million tourists will visit Laos this year and help to generate as much as 325 million dollars in revenues.
Songrit Pongern reported from Bangkok on 03 March 2010. Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao, or read our Lao text.