Vientiane may soon have an eco-tourism venture after the Lao government authorised the Green Adventure Travel Company Limited to conduct a survey and feasibility study of a proposed project.
A memorandum of understanding on the project was signed in Vientiane recently by the Vientiane Planning and Investment Department and the Green Adventure Travel Company.
The proposed project would be created on a site of nearly 30ha in a protected area within Vernthaen village in Xaythany district.
The site is almost 24km from downtown Vientiane. The feasibility study will take at least one year but the company will try to complete it before the deadline, a project official said.
If the project goes ahead it will be a boost to the tourism industry in Vientiane and create extra income and job opportunities for local people.
The eco-tourism project will have a focus on nature and showcase local cultural traditions.
Most tourism activities in Vientiane highlight the traditional way of life, with eco-tourism drawing an increasing number of visitors.
A large numbers of travellers do not stay long in Vientiane but opt to explore the natural environs of Vangvieng or places further north or south.
The proposed project in Vientiane will provide adequate support services such as restaurants, guesthouses and homestays.
Vientiane received more than two million visitors last year, an increase of 0.66 above the target set for 2019, the Vientiane Information, Culture and Tourism Department said.
The Vientiane services sector grew by 9.3 per cent last year, although this was 0.2 less than the growth rate planned, and accounted for 34.43 per cent of gross domestic product.
Laos is still facing an uphill task in attracting tourists to stay longer in the country, according to the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The challenges include the lack of a tourism promotion budget from the central government, unclear management by different authorities, and lack of regular consultation and strategic planning between the public and private sectors.
These are issues for the tourism sector working group to consider, so that the government can sustainably develop the tourism industry and enable tourism-related services to stay competitive within the region.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK