Massive new tourism development planned for Vangvieng

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) – Authorities in Vientiane province are considering a major tourist development along the Nam Xong river to the west of central Vangvieng district, aiming to provide more sophisticated facilities for tourists.

As one of the main tourist destinations in Laos, Vangvieng continues to attract investors in search of business opportunities.

The provincial authorities licensed a Chinese company to conduct initial studies on the proposed development, with a survey taking 10 months to complete, according to an official from the province’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Khammy Phoutthavong.

Khammy has been appointed by the provincial authorities to be responsible for the West Namxong River Tourism Complex Development Project.

The survey involves assessing the total area to be used for the development and the number of villages within the project site.

The west of Nam Xong river in Vangvieng district, Vientiane province. – VIENTIANE TIMES/ANN

The developer has six months remaining to prepare a report on its findings for submission to the authorities.

Khammy said some of the content was determined in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the provincial governor and the developer.

The permitted area for the project site was originally 500 hectares, which in this case included six villages. However, the provincial governor allowed the developer to expand the survey area to 75 square kilometres, covering 22 villages in total.

The planned development site encompasses both sides of the Xong River, including some communities opposite the cement plants by the side of National Road 13 North.

In late 2017, the company asked the provincial governor for permission to expand its investment by asking the authorities to allow development of the area as a tourism-related economic zone, an official said.

An official from the province’s Administration Office said the provincial authorities had submitted a request to the central government seeking permission for this change to the proposal, but the government had yet to make a decision.

This official quoted Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, who recently went on a working visit to Vangvieng and spoke to local authorities as well as attending a meeting.

The prime minister said that the authorities should preserve Vangvieng’s natural beauty and culture to promote the tourism instead of creating the economic zone.

The provincial authorities have yet to receive any official document from the government regarding this matter.

Khammy said he supported the proposed development because it fell in line with the goals of the provincial government. However, it would be unacceptable if many tall buildings were built.