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China-Laos Railway facilitates tourism boom in northern Laos

Copyfrom:Xinhua News AgencyPost Time:2023-05-04 10:25:34

by Chanthaphaphone Mixayboua, Zhang Jianhua, Lin Hao


VIENTIANE, April 29 (Xinhua) -- Tourism facilities are expected to be upgraded in northern Laos' Luang Prabang in order to cater to the influx of visitors as the launch of China-Laos Railway cross-border passenger train service has brought more travelers to the famed tourist destination.

Vice Governor of Luang Prabang province, Bounleuan Manivong, told reporters that the eponymous provincial capital is a magnet to visitors in the Southeast Asian country as well as those from abroad.

To attract more visitors, provincial authorities are building more tourism-related facilities, and tourism operators have refurbished or upgraded popular tourist attractions and improved the hospitality services.

Luang Prabang province recorded more than 273,000 visitors in the first three months of 2023, generating more than 157 million U.S. dollars in revenue.

"Luang Prabang is a small charming town surrounded by rivers and mountains. I wish more people would travel to Luang Prabang, so that they can see its beauty," Bounmany Phomsy, a local vendor in the province, told Xinhua on Saturday.

"The China-Laos Railway has made traveling to the province much easier. And I believe more Chinese tourists will come to Laos because they could travel by cross-border passenger trains."

She added that taking the train is a fast, safe and comfortable way to travel.

Since the inauguration of the China-Laos Railway in December 2021, many more people have flocked to Luang Prabang province. In the first 10 months of 2022, 335,794 tourists, accounting for 85.27 percent of the total, arrived in Luang Prabang by the train.

"The China-Laos Railway has significantly bolstered passenger transportation, greatly facilitated travel and helped promote tourism in Laos since its launch. Because the train has shortened the travel time, visitors can spend much more time in touring," Tou Bounseng, a food vendor in Luang Prabang, told Xinhua.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of international tourists has dropped sharply due to travel restrictions. Fortunately, the launch of China-Laos Railway has helped revive the domestic tourism of Laos. Many people taking train to the town because it's fast and the ticket price is cheaper."

The first group of more than 200 Chinese tourists arrived in Laos on April 13 after traveling on the first cross-border train operated by the China-Laos Railway.

The cross-border passenger train service has been advertised internationally as part of integrated passenger transport services to promote tourism in Laos, which also highlights ASEAN countries' cooperation with China.

Daophet Bouphaphanh, vice president of the Hotel and Guesthouse Association in Luang Prabang province, told reporters that the number of Chinese visitors has surged in the province, with room bookings expected to rise throughout 2023. The Chinese tourist arrivals have grown in Laos since China's resumption of outbound travels in February.

As the China-Laos Railway serves as crucial tourism infrastructure, Lao authorities estimate that around 368,000 Chinese travelers will visit Laos this year, up 21 percent from last year.

Luang Prabang province, some 220 km north of the Lao capital Vientiane, is one of the most well-known provinces in Laos and a top tourist destination because of its ancient temples and scenic rural landscapes.

The Town of Luang Prabang was inscribed on the World Heritage list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in December 1994.

The mountainous Luang Prabang province has 228 officially-designated tourist sites, of which 111 are nature-based, 78 are of cultural heritage, and 39 have historical buildings.

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