Main Article Content
Tourism growth acts as a significant tool in supporting economic development and poverty alleviation of developing countries, such as Lao PDR. Savannakhet, one of the country’s top three most-visited provinces, was the focus of this study. Despite its record of good tourism growth over the last few decades, this province was chosen by only a small percentage of travelers as their final destination with overnight stops. The present study investigated tourism growth in Savannakhet, major factors influencing tourism growth, and tourist motivation to visit this province. The mixed-method approach was used to elicit quantitative and qualitative data which were collected through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and questionnaires. The results show that Savannakhet is ideally located in the center of the Mekong sub-region. With overland transport corridors and the Second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, Savannakhet has benefited from the growth of trade, investments, and tourism. The major motivations for tourists to travel to Savannakhet are its location, a culture similar culture to that of its neighbors, relaxation, and a gateway. However, most tourist locations in Savannakhet, according to SWOT analysis, still lack dominant attractiveness, sufficient tourism packages, tour operators, and supportive public transportation. Our findings suggest several strategies for tourism development in Savannakhet to draw more tourists from both domestic and international levels by improving its infrastructure and services in tourism sectors, strengthening community-based tourism, and developing creative tourism.