Local government officials plan to build more road links to neighbouring countries to make it easier for visitors to travel to the World Heritage town of Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang provincial Governor, Mr Khamkhan Chanthavisouk, told Vientiane Times on Friday “To provide more convenient transport links to neighbouring countries and other provinces in Laos, we are planning to build more roads and bridges.”
“Convenient transport is very important for tourism, so authorities are planning to build more road links and provide more flights, so we can better connect with Asean countries and the rest of the world,” he added.
“We are currently upgrading the 90km road between Chomphet district in Luang Prabang province and Hongsa district in Xayaboury province. The road running to the Thai border, which is about 30km from Hongsa district, is also being improved.”
“We are also seeking funding to build a bridge across the Mekong linking the town of Luang Prabang and Chomphet district, where we plan to develop a Special Economic Zone. At present, Chomphet district is only accessible by boat so getting there will be much easier if there’s a bridge.”
“Another project is the building of a 114km road to the Vietnamese border in Dien Bien Phu province. We believe this would open another door to overseas tourists wanting to visit Luang Prabang and other parts of the country,” he added.
Mr Khamkhan said the province would propose construction of the bridge and the road link to Vietnam at the government’s monthly meeting in March.
Besides infrastructure development, the province is also working to improve the services sector and preserve the area’s natural beauty, as this is very important for visitors’ enjoyment and may encourage them to stay longer.
Authorities in Luang Prabang province are also looking forward to welcoming visitors to its Visit Laos Year activities. The campaign will be officially announced at the start of the Lao New Year holiday when celebrations take place in Luang Prabang from April 9 to 16.
According to statistics, the number of tourist arrivals last year was 655,412, an increase of 1.84 percent on 2016. The figure is expected to reach 1 million in the future.
The province has 228 officially designated tourist sites, which include 108 places of natural beauty, 86 of cultural interest, and 34 historical sites. However, only 111 of these are open to visitors. Luang Prabang’s old town was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1995 and is the most popular visitor destination in Laos and increasingly more well known around the world.
The journey to Luang Prabang from Vientiane by road takes at least six hours, but the province has an international airport with flights serving domestic routes and several other countries.