Chinese to build large tourism complex in Laos’ prime party town

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A Chinese developer, Yijin Group, is readying to construct a more than $200-million tourism complex at an abandoned airfield in Vang Vieng district, one of the top tourist destinations in Laos, some 160 kilometers north of the capital Vientiane.

The project will include facilities such as a five-star hotel, a modern private hospital and a public park, and a casino has also been suggested. The agreement for the development was signed last week by the Chinese, who will entirely fund the project, and the local provincial authority. However, approval from the government for building the casino is still pending.

Construction of the whole complex is expected to be completed within five years. It will cover over 16 hectares of the old airfield, which is under the management of the Ministry of National Defense. People residing in the area of the project will be asked to move.

The tourism complex is being built in view of the planned Lao-Chinese railway link set to be completed in 2021 that will run through Vang Vieng province. Another connection is the expressway linking Vientiane to Vang Vieng that will be extended to pass through Luang Namtha province up to the Chinese border.

It is expected that the new tourism complex will bring noticeable changes in the tourism industry in Laos and particularly in Vang Vieng, which used to be best known for its image as destination for rough backpacker parties and dangerous water rafting exercises. This to an extent that the place has been labeled as a “tourist ghetto” packed with bars that attracted hordes of young unruly tourists. They drank heavily and partied late into the night, and there were a number of serious drink-related accidents on roads and also drownings and drug-related incidents that even made in in the international media.

Lao authorities have been battling the resort’s negative image in the past years, resulting in an initiative in 2017 aimed at improving the standard of attractions, facilities and services to make the travel experience in Vang Vieng more rewarding. This includes better training of local hospitality staff, higher safety standards and improved garbage collection. Efforts to clear the destination of ill-behaving backpackers and reduce drug abuse have also been partially successful.

Currently, Vang Vieng has 145 places of accommodation for visitors, including 18 hotels, ten resorts, 116 guesthouses and one homestay. The new resort is expected to substantially increase this capacity.

Last year, Vang Vieng attracted 183,000 visitors, generating around $8.52 million in revenue for its tourism industry. Of the total guests, 141,000 were international visitors. About half of all tourists in 2016 came from Asia, 30 per cent from the EU and 20 per cent from other parts of the world.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A Chinese developer, Yijin Group, is readying to construct a more than $200-million tourism complex at an abandoned airfield in Vang Vieng district, one of the top tourist destinations in Laos, some 160 kilometers north of the capital Vientiane.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A Chinese developer, Yijin Group, is readying to construct a more than $200-million tourism complex at an abandoned airfield in Vang Vieng district, one of the top tourist destinations in Laos, some 160 kilometers north of the capital Vientiane.

The project will include facilities such as a five-star hotel, a modern private hospital and a public park, and a casino has also been suggested. The agreement for the development was signed last week by the Chinese, who will entirely fund the project, and the local provincial authority. However, approval from the government for building the casino is still pending.

Construction of the whole complex is expected to be completed within five years. It will cover over 16 hectares of the old airfield, which is under the management of the Ministry of National Defense. People residing in the area of the project will be asked to move.

The tourism complex is being built in view of the planned Lao-Chinese railway link set to be completed in 2021 that will run through Vang Vieng province. Another connection is the expressway linking Vientiane to Vang Vieng that will be extended to pass through Luang Namtha province up to the Chinese border.

It is expected that the new tourism complex will bring noticeable changes in the tourism industry in Laos and particularly in Vang Vieng, which used to be best known for its image as destination for rough backpacker parties and dangerous water rafting exercises. This to an extent that the place has been labeled as a “tourist ghetto” packed with bars that attracted hordes of young unruly tourists. They drank heavily and partied late into the night, and there were a number of serious drink-related accidents on roads and also drownings and drug-related incidents that even made in in the international media.

Lao authorities have been battling the resort’s negative image in the past years, resulting in an initiative in 2017 aimed at improving the standard of attractions, facilities and services to make the travel experience in Vang Vieng more rewarding. This includes better training of local hospitality staff, higher safety standards and improved garbage collection. Efforts to clear the destination of ill-behaving backpackers and reduce drug abuse have also been partially successful.

Currently, Vang Vieng has 145 places of accommodation for visitors, including 18 hotels, ten resorts, 116 guesthouses and one homestay. The new resort is expected to substantially increase this capacity.

Last year, Vang Vieng attracted 183,000 visitors, generating around $8.52 million in revenue for its tourism industry. Of the total guests, 141,000 were international visitors. About half of all tourists in 2016 came from Asia, 30 per cent from the EU and 20 per cent from other parts of the world.

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