LAOS will embark on a series of infrastructure upgrades in four provinces along the Greater Mekong Subregion corridors, backed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its third tourism project in the country.
ADB has loaned US$40 million to the Lao government, which will contribute US$3.6 million on its own to the project.
Construction works in the four provinces of Champasak, Khammouane, Luang Prabang and Oudomxay will include road improvements and other tourism infrastructure upgrades, and will take place between 2015 and 2019.
Under the project, US$13.8 million has been earmarked to improve access to and site management of Chom-Ong Cave in Oudomxay; US$3 million will go towards upgrading the Mekong River Ferry Terminal in the Chomphet Heritage District of Luang Prabang and creating an information centre there; US$7.3 million for upgrading the 10km access road to Pak-Ou Village and its popular caves in Luang Prabang; Xang Cave in Khammouane province will receive an access road and bridge and more tourist facilities at a total cost of US$2.5 million.
The strengthening of tourism infrastructure is likely to boost the destination management organisation (DMO) thrust of the project, which aims to help establish provincial and national level DMOs to execute coordinated marketing and promotional strategies for activities and events.
Such DMOs will draw participation from government ministries as well as business associations and development agencies.
Laos’ vice minister of information, culture and tourism, Chaleune Warinthrasak, said the establishment of DMOs would “foster closer cooperation among the public and private sectors and international development partners to develop Laos as a well-known tourist destination”.