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Vientiane’s Don Chan area to blossom as new tourist site

Authorities plan to develop Vientiane’s southern Don Chan area as a new tourist site complete with flower gardens and a number of retail outlets featuring organic produce grown by local farmers.
The project seeks to make the zone, located behind Don Chan Palace Hotel in Sisattanak district and near Chao Anouvong Park, more attractive to visitors while generating an income for local farmers.

A senior official of the Vientiane Department of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Laly Nanthavong, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that authorities will undertake a survey on the development of Don Chan garden as a tourist site.
“If the project takes off, a number of services, including a café, and sweet corn and other food cooked by farmers will be available for sale,” Mr Laly said.
“We want to plant sunflowers and marigolds in the area, while farmers will be encouraged to grow organic fast growing crops such as sweet corn and vegetables.”
Work on the Don Chan Garden Tourism Development Project was not expected to begin until the end of this year, according to Mr Laly.
Last month, Vientiane Mayor Dr Sinlavong Khoutphaythoune decided to set up a committee comprising officials from different departments to take charge of the project.
The committee will commission a project survey and re-allocate plots to farmers interested in joining the programme.
One of the main problems at the moment is that some farmers occupying large plots in Don Chan area are refusing to share land with others even though the area is designated as State land.
Mr Laly, who is the committee’s deputy director, said all the plots will be re-allocated for different crops, flowers and vegetables. Interested farmers can apply to join the farming activities as designated by authorities.
The committee will also set up an office near the project site before the survey takes place.
“We are waiting for equipment and funding to carry out the survey, and hopefully we can commence it in the next few months. We will start the scheme by collecting information from farmers and relevant authorities to utilise for the development of the programme,” Mr Laly said.
The Don Chan area currently serves as the lung of the city, and every day, thousands of people, including tourists, visit Chao Anouvong Park.
In the meantime, northern Don Chan is intended to be opened to the public. During past Lao New Year celebrations, a number of activitie including sporting event have been organised in the area to welcome tourists. In 2016, a large number of visitors flocked to Don Chan Island to see sand sculptures representing landmarks and symbols of Asean member countries.

By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update
February 23,

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