Thakhek will attract tourists by 2015

Khammuan province is speeding up of upgrades infrastructure with the aim of turning Khakhek district into a green tourism destination by 2015.

Deputy Director of the Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Bounthavy Sysombath, told Vientiane Times last week that the province is in the process of converting roads leading to tourist sites from dirt to asphalt or concrete surfaces. “We are doing this as a way for the provincial government to support Visit Laos Year 2012,” he said. The tourist sites in Thakhek district include Sikhottabong stupa, one of the most sacred Buddhist religious sites in Laos, which was constructed during the Sikhottabong Kingdom era in the 6th-8th century AD. The government has approved two billion kip for stupa renovations.

Visitors will also be encouraged to visit Kamphaeng Yark (giant wall). Legend says that the 15km wall was built in the 9 th century by the ancient Sikhottabong Kingdom. Others maintain that Kamphaeng Yark is a natural sandstone formation which was incorporated into the kingdom’s defense system. Tourists are also advised to see the many charming French colonial buildings located in the district. Mr Bounthavy said that the improvement of basic infrastructure can allow Thakhek to become an attractive tourist destination and green district because tourism is one of three sectors planned to increase socio-economic development in the area.

To achieve the goal, the province has already encouraged Thakhek residents living along main roads to grow flowers and decorate the fronts of their houses as well as make sure that rubbish is properly discarded. The other two potential socio-economic development sectors are agriculture and forestry as well as energy and mines. The three targeted sectors directly support the government’s policy for poverty alleviation.

So far the province has recognised 146 tourist sites: 119 natural tourist sites, 25 cultural tourist sites and two historical tourist sites. In 2010, the province recorded approximately 175,000 tourist visits. The number of tourists increased to 250,000 in 2011 after the third Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge opened in September of that year.

Source: Vientiane Times