VANG VIENG, Laos, 14 August 2019: Vang Vieng a tourist town halfway to Luang Prabang in northern Laos has been told to clean up its riverside tourist district.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith made the comments on the direction the famous tourist town should take during a site inspection last week.
Led by Vang Vieng District Governor Khamphong Douangvilay, the PM and high ranking government officials visited development projects in and around the resort town, including the construction site of the Lao-China Railway.
Vang Vieng is one of the towns that will have a station on the high-speed line that links China’s Yunnan province with the Lao capital Vientiane.
Eventually, the line will link up with a high-speed train project the Thai government says will be ready by 2030 at the latest. It will connect Vientiane with towns in Northeast Thailand and Bangkok.
Laotian Times reported that the Lao PM focused his attention on Vang Vieng’s environmental problems, including wastewater management.
According to the national daily newspaper he called for “harmony with nature and efforts to protect the natural tourism attractions of Vang Vieng.”
The trip also highlighted the need to improve safety at Tham Nang Fa and Tham Nohn caves, while ensuring tourism did not destroy the sensitive environment.
Vang Vieng struggles to shed its notorious party town reputation. At the height of its popularity, media reports focused on drugs and alcohol abuse that resulted in the deaths of some young tourists mainly from drowning in the river that flows through the town.
The PM criticised past efforts to promote tourism in Vang Vieng saying development was not based on acceptable urban planning practices and that the district lacked a sustainable tourism plan.
“Disposal of wastewater into rivers
and littering must stop, while the construction of entertainment venues that conflict
with the natural beauty of Vang Vieng must be reconsidered,” the PM
(Source Lao News Agency)