Huaphan province to develop Viengxay as historical tourist site

The Huaphan has given the green light for a local construction company to create a design that would transform the former revolutionary stronghold in Viengxay district into an important historical tourist attraction. The provincial Planning and Investment Department Deputy Director, Mr Khonthong Manivone, said yesterday the provincial authorities and PVP Construction Company had signed an agreement last month authorising the company to develop a plan that would turn Viengxay town into a tourist site of historical interest.

PVP Construction Company will use its own resources to carry out the study and design various tourism facilities in the town. When the study is complete, the company will present the results to the provincial authorities, Mr Khonthong said.

“The company will spend one to two years on the study and submit the results to the provincial authorities for consideration and possible approval,” he said, adding that the province will use the results as a reference to determine whether or not to approve investment in the project.

The government gave the go ahead for the provincial authorities to develop Viengxay into a tourist town a long time. But the authorities did not have sufficient financial support from the government so they had to seek cooperation from the private sector.

Mr Khonthong said Viengxay district has huge potential to become one of the top historical tourist destinations in Laos. The town was formerly the revolutionary stronghold of the Pathet Lao leaders, who used it as a base to conduct a lengthy war against the Vientiane government some 40 years ago.

Huaphan province is already popular with local and foreign tourists, most of whom visit Viengxay district. Visitors not only enjoy the stunning scenery of the area but also learn about the lives of the Lao revolutionaries when they lived in the limestone caves.

There are many important caves worth visiting, including those where the late President Kaysone Phomvihane and Souphanouvong lived and conducted their revolutionary campaign. International film crews have visited these two caves, which are considered to be among the most interesting of all tourist attractions in Laos.

Visitors to Viengxay district can also learn about the traditions and culture of the local people, specially their expertise in weaving. Huaphan weavings are known to be some of the best in Laos. Many people here grow mulberry trees and raise silkworms, from which they weave textiles using traditional methods.

Mr Khonthong said that while Viengxay district was becoming well known as a tourist destination, it lacked adequate infrastructure such as good roads, an airport, hotels and restaurants. All of these were needed to provide better services for visitors. He said the provincial authorities were sourcing investment funding from the state and private sectors to improve tourism facilities. They hope that the growth of tourism will bring in more revenue for the province and its people, to help them rise above poverty.