Laos’ Bokeo province viewed as promising tourism destination
February 24, 2017 01:00 By VIENTIANE TIMES ASIA NEWS NETWORK VIENTIANE
PUBLIC OFFICIALS and business operators see Laos’ Bokeo province as a promising destination for doing business, especially in tourism.
Central government officials and their local peers, along with foreigners with operations in the province, shared this view on a bright future for investment at a meeting in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (GTSEZ). The participants discussed ways of cooperating to encourage sustainable tourism projects.
Several cooperation agreements were signed between provinces in Laos, Thailand, China and Vietnam, and between the Lao public sector and domestic and foreign investors during the meeting.
The agreements are aimed at developing the ancient city of Souvannakhomkham, a hot springs site, an old Indochina war encampment, Phou Phahoung Mountain and the Nam Kan National Protected Area, among other projects and human resource development for the tourism sector.
A memorandum of understanding on a feasibility study on the development of an 18-hole golf course, a sports service centre, a six-star hotel, restaurants, and modern villas in Huayxai district was also signed between Bokeo provincial authorities, a Lao private company and a Korean investor.
Bokeo province is considered a gateway to both Thailand and Myanmar with three international border checkpoints and the fourth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge connecting the R3A Road.
At the meeting, GTSEZ executive chairman Zhao Wei reminded participants about the province’s potential for tourism development, including the province’s location, interest in the multi-ethnic people and encouraging investment policies of the Lao government and local administration.
He said Laos was the best choice for investment and business operations, pointing to boat trips between Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and China, which would provide a perspective for tourism in the sub-region.
Wei revealed a plan on the development of around 1.3 million square metres, saying he decided to make a big investment because he is confident in the Lao government policies, and the leadership of the provincial authorities.
A businessman from the Boten economic zone also revealed a vision for the development of tourism connections between the well-known Xishuangbanna prefecture in China, Luang Prabang in Laos, and tourism destinations in the northern provinces of Thailand, with Bokeo province at the centre.
Laos’ Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport Santisouk Simmalavong said the government planned to develop a road connecting Road R3A in Huayxay district with Pakbaeng.
The road will cross the Mekong River in Paktha district’s Huaykeo village, and follow its west bank in Xayaboury province to Pakbaeng. The link will cut travelling time between Bokeo and Luang Prabang provinces, and between Bokeo province and Vientiane.