Suganda Punsue, the chairman of the Nong Khai Travel Trade Promotion Association, and executives from Kantana Tour, a Nong Khai-based travel company, have explained that the current devaluation of the Lao kip has led to a rise in tourism. The exchange rate of the Lao kip has fallen to 1 baht for 500 kip from 1 baht for 250 kip, making it more affordable for travelers.
After Laos reopened its land borders on May 9, 2022, tourism in the area picked up. The return of travelers who have not traveled in a long time, the mid-year holiday season, and the introduction of the Lao-Chinese bullet train have all contributed to the increase in visitors. Medium-sized tour groups of about 40 to 100 people travel along the Nong Khai-Vientiane-Luang Prabang route. Thai tourists are especially eager to experience the high-speed train and visit the historic city of Luang Prabang.
The train is an economical option for Chinese tourists as flights from China to Vientiane cost around 20,000 baht per person. Korean tourists are also visiting the area to escape the winter season and spend time in Nong Khai or play golf in Vientiane, giving the travel industry a further boost.