Xayaboury set to become new transit hub

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Xayaboury province is becoming a major transit hub for international tour-ists after the government upgraded a border crossing with Thailand to inter-national level, according to a senior provincial official.

 “We are becoming a new transit hub for international tourists coming to Laos,” the province’s Deputy Governor, Mr Yanyong Siphaseuth, told Vientiane Times on Thursday.

Mr Yanyong spoke to Vientiane Times by telephone while supervising preparations for the opening ceremony of the Pang Mong International Border Crossing in Khop district, which shares a border with Thailand’s Phu Sang district in Phayao province.

The opening ceremony on February 1 will be attended by senior officials from Laos and Thailand.

There are already three international border crossings with Thailand in Xayaboury province; one is in Paklai district, one is in Khaenthao district, and the other is in Ngeun district.

Mr Yanyong said the opening of another international crossing would transform the province into a major transit hub for tourists visiting northern Laos, especially the world heritage town of Luang Prabang.

“Tourists from Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai who plan to visit Luang Prabang can use this border crossing,” he said, adding that passage through this entry point would now be faster.

According to Mr Yanyong, a new asphalt road has been built to link Khop district to Hongsa district and Luang Prabang. The travel time between the border crossing and Luang Prabang is about four hours.

He said Xayaboury provincial authorities expected to benefit from the crossing serving as a transit hub, adding that the upgraded status would boost the local tourism industry.

In addition, Mr Yanyong said provincial authorities expected the crossing point would provide a major boost to the agriculture and handicraft industry as farmers would find it easier to transport their goods to Thai markets.

Xayaboury has a long tradition of cash crop cultivation and grows large amounts of sweetcorn and other vegetables for export. Many farmers in the province are now growing bananas after learning that demand for the fruit in neighbouring countries is increasing.

The government has invested a massive amount in the construction of roads, bridges and railways in a bid to transform the country into a land bridge within the Mekong region.

The transformation of the country from landlocked into a land link would create new opportunities for Laos to attract foreign investment, especially in the service, tourism and agriculture sectors.

At present many businesses consider investment in Laos to be uncompetitive because the country is landlocked, which poses challenges for the import and export of goods.



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