Laos studies potential tourist sites

SAVANNAKHET, 13 July 2017: Savannakhet province, in central Laos bordering Thailand, plans to develop Xe Salalong reservoir, in Thapangthong district, as a new tourist destination.

Lao News Agency reported the Savannakhet Information Culture and Tourism Department joined forces with authorities from Thapangthong district to survey Xe Salalong reservoir to collect information and identify possible tourist attractions.

The survey identified sites at the reservoir for a tourist service centre, a boat marina, a protected nature park, a community handicraft centre and a parking area for buses and cars.

The survey also outlined details of a proposed annual boat race festival and agricultural tourism activities at Don Ngoikao — an island village in the reservoir.

According to Ministry of Planning and Investment, there are 2,100 tourist sites in Laos — almost 1,200 ecotourism sites, 600 cultural sites and almost 300 historical sites including two World Heritage sites.

The figures are based on a survey conducted during 2015 to 2016.

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism plans to develop tourist attractions across the country through to 2020.

Each province will have to identify and develop 20 tourism sites through to 2020, while the ministry will develop 23 tourism sites.

In 2016, tourist arrivals reached over 4.2 million, which was a decrease of 10% on over 4.6 million visits in 2015. During 2016, revenue reached USD724 million, a slight reduction from USD725 million revenue in 2015.

Champasak province was the top ranked destination attracting nearly 400,000 visitors. It was followed by Vientiane province with over 360,000 visits, Savannakhet province with over 335,000 visits and Luang Prabang province with over 173,000 visits.

The country targets 4.8 million tourists and revenue of USD843 million this year, and by 2025 it should welcome 7.5 million visitors and earn USD1.3 billion in revenue.

Savannakhet province is located in the southern part of the country and is the largest province in Laos.

It borders Khammouane province to the north, Quang Tri and Thua Thien–Hue provinces of Vietnam to the east, Salavan province to the south, and Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan provinces in Thailand to the west.

The second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge over the Mekong connects Mukdahan province in Thailand with Savannakhet in Laos.