In 2016, Laos reported that an astonishing 3.05 million outbound travelers crossed its borders to other countries.
According to statistics presented by the Tourism Development Department at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, the number of Lao nationals traveling by plane was at a record high in 2016 compared to previous years.
Wattay International Airport reported 81,800 outbound Lao nationals in 2016, slightly up from 81,064 people and 76,985 people in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
More than 1.46 million people were recorded leaving the country via the Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge.
However, according to the department, information regarding the travelers’ spending and length of stay has not been obtained due to funding shortages.
The statistics were collected from 14 international checkpoints across the country and indicate that those Lao provinces sharing borders with Thailand have registered the highest numbers of people crossing their checkpoints when travelling abroad.
The statistics did not specify the destinations of the travelers, however.
Lao officials and tour operators speculate that it is due to the Lao people’s well-being and increasing incomes that has enabled them to indulge in more vacations abroad.
The government report showed that average gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has increased to US$2,027 (more than 16.2 million kip) in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The figure is expected to further rise to US$2,341 (more than 18.7 million kip) by 2017.
GDP per capita is projected to reach US$3,100 (more than 24.8 million kip) in 2020 when the Lao population is expected to increase to 7.3 million. In turn the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is predicted to reach US$2,450 (more than 19.6 million kip).
A local tour agency has shared that package tours to South Korea, Malaysia-Singapore-Indonesia, and Japan have been popular destinations for Lao outbound tourists, and they are customizing more packages for their clientele every day.