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Luang Prabang set to cross the river
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Luang Prabang set to cross the river

Somsack Pongkhao
Vientiane Times
Publication Date : 24-09-2010

 

Luang Prabang provincial authorities plan to expand the town across the Mekong River to Chomphet district, where a train station will be built to link with Vientiane and the Laos-China border.

Newly-elected Secretary of Luang Prabang province's Party Committee, Dr Khampheng Xaysompheng, unveiled the plan yesterday (September 23), saying expansion of the town is part of developments envisaged for the province during his five years of office.

As the top provincial Party leader, Dr Khampheng along with other leaders believes building a bridge across the Mekong will facilitate economic growth and the passage of vehicles and people as part of the town's expansion.

Three companies have submitted proposals for building a bridge - a Chinese company, Korean company and a China-Canada-Thailand joint venture. We are in the process of considering their proposals,” he said.

A new international airport is also under construction in Luang Prabang, set for completion in 2013. Dr Khampheng said this project is one of the most important aspects in attracting tourists to the World Heritage town.

Chomphet district could be an important hotspot for development once a railway is in place because local people can use it for personal travel or to transport goods for sale in larger markets.

Dr Khampheng said it was important to train people to work on the various development projects and create better understanding about the development strategy.

“We will reform the governance structure by promoting younger people to important positions to facilitate development,” he said.

“In the next two years, several three and four star hotels will be built in response to the rising number of tourists.”

Dr Khampheng said the province would preserve the traditional culture of local people for tourism purposes and ensure development did not affect local lifestyles.

He said agricultural production in Luang Prabang was quite active but there were insufficient factories to process these crops.

“Processing plants are important for our province. I believe we will see more new products made here during my term of office,” he said.

Dr Khampheng said he will ensure economic growth of 9 percent per year over the five-year period, with annual per capita income of between US$1,400 and US$1,500. Currently, per capita income stands at US$821.

He said the province will continue to create favourable conditions for businesspeople to invest in tourism facilities such as restaurants, hotels and resorts.

The number of foreign visitors to Luang Prabang reached about 245,000 people in 2009, a more than 5 percent increase from the previous year.



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