Laos boosts tourist stops along Highway No. 9
Feb 21, 2012, 3:06 GMT
Vientiane - Laos will this year set up more tourist stops along Highway No. 9, which links Thailand to Vietnam, in an effort to boost revenues for Savannakhet province.
Since the 2006 opening of a bridge over the Mekong River that links Mukdahan, north-east Thailand, to Quang Tri, central Vietnam, via Highway No. 9 through Savannakhet, tourist arrivals to the southern Lao province have jumped to top 1 million last year, the Vientiane Times reported.
But most of the tourists are 'day trippers' who only stop in Savannakhet to eat or drink, said Bountheung Xayavong, deputy director of the Savannakhet province tourism department.
In an effort to persuade tourists to stay longer and spend more in Savannakhet provincial authorities are promoting new attractions, including the remains of a bombed out colonial-era French bank and tours of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which communist guerrilla fighters used to transport munitions and supplies from North to South Vietnam during the war.
Villagers are also being encouraged to set up home-stay accommodations and provide workshops on traditional cloth weaving and how to make 'the ubiquitous rice whisky known as Lao lao,' the newspaper said.
The province recently received 370,000 dollars from the Asian Development Bank to develop a strategic plan for the tourism industry, improve basic infrastructure and accommodation facilities, and exploit its eco-tourism potential.