Laos studies potential tourist sites

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

The Lao News Agency reported that the Department of Information, Culture and Tourism of Savannakhet has teamed up with Thapangthong district authorities to investigate the Xe Salalong Reservoir to collect information and identify possible tourist attractions.

The survey identified sites at the reservoir for a tourist services centre, a marina, a protected natural park, a community craft center and a parking area for buses and cars.

The survey also described details of a planned annual boat racing festival and agricultural tourism activities in Don Ngoikao – an island village in the reservoir.

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

Figures are based on a survey conducted from 2015 to 2016.

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

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

In 2016, tourist arrivals reached over 4.2 million, down 10% from over 4.6 million visits in 2015. In 2016, revenues reached $724 million, a slight down from $725 million in 2015 revenue.

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 is targeting 4.8 million tourists and revenue of $843 million this year, and by 2025 it is expected to welcome 7.5 million visitors and generate $1.3 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 of Thailand to the west.

The second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge over the Mekong connects Mukdahan Province in Thailand to Savannakhet in Laos.

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