Investors to study feasibility of tourism complex in Vangvieng
A Chinese company is keen to develop a tourism complex on a disused airfield in the town of Vangvieng, believing it will attract even more visitors to the already popular tourist hotspot.
The provincial authorities agreed on Tuesday that the Yijin Construction Engineering Lao Co., Ltd. could start a feasibility study for the project, which will take about one year.
If the company goes ahead with the project, it will invest about US$200 million. The complex will include a concert hall, exhibition hall, an ‘ice playground', fountain park, shopping centre, children's recreation area, water park, hotels, apartments, restaurants, and bars.
According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the authorities and the company on February 28, the project site covers 15 hectares.
The airfield has not been in regular use for many years, but sometimes serves as a landing site for helicopters carrying senior government officials visiting local communities, and various businesspeople.
Speaking to local media, Ms Manivone Phalikhanh, the Managing Director of Phalikhanh Company, which has formed a joint venture with the Chinese company, said she wanted to realise the government's policy on converting unused property into an economically viable enterprise.
Speaking with Vientiane Times yesterday, the province's Department of Planning and Investment Director, Mr Soukan Vilayrat, said the airport was managed by the Ministry of Defence, and project authorisation would ultimately depend on the government's decision.
He also said the investors would need to build a symbolic landmark for the town aside from the development of the project, possibly a ‘city pillar'.
The airfield is located alongside five villages, where many houses and business properties have encroached on state land.
Mr Soukan said the project would require residents to dismantle encroaching properties.
With its stunning landscapes and temperate climate, Vangvieng is one of the more popular tourist destinations in Laos. According to the district's Office of Information, Culture and Tourism more than 180,000 people visited Vangvieng last year, generating around 73 billion kip in income for local communities.
Of the arrivals in Vangvieng 140,000 were foreign nationals with about 45 percent coming from Europe.
The provincial authorities also recently gave the green light to another company to conduct a feasibility study on the development of a tourism complex in the same district, at the point where the Nam Xong and Nam Lik rivers meet.
“Ideally, we hope the availability of future tourism facilities will attract even more visitors to the town,” Mr Soukan said.
By Somxay & Phoukhorng
(Latest Update March 03, 2017)