Authorities reported that over one million people have visited Vang Vieng over the last five years, including over 700,000 foreign tourists.
According to a report read at the 6th Party Conference of Vientiane Province yesterday, the number of visitors who traveled to Vang Vieng reached 1,107,525 people over the last five years, including 796,231 foreign visitors.
Tourism has provided the district with an income of LAK 518 billion.
Vang Vieng District Governor, Mr. Bounchan Malavong, says tourism management in Vang Vieng has improved over the years.
There are 29 hotels in Vang Vieng, 114 guesthouses, 16 resorts, 12 bungalow stays, 6 villas, and one homestay, allowing the tourist town to accommodate 7,000 to 8,000 visitors per day, according to Mr. Bounchan.
“There are a lot of activities for visitors to participate in, as well as a large number of restaurants and bars,” said the district governor.
Despite its rapid development, some tourists have said the town must work harder to ensure cleanliness and orderliness. Others lament the disappearance of its small-town charm.
One tourist from Romania who spoke with the Laotian Times said that he has visited Vang Vieng many times because he enjoys the beautiful nature and scenery.
“It has changed a bit because of all the development, and some of the best views are now gone,” he said.
Domestic tourism to Vang Vieng has grown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has meant more visitors from Vientiane Capital and other provinces.
In June this year authorities in Vang Vieng urged holidaymakers to cease playing loud music and to follow measures for the prevention of Covid-19 amid a surge in visitors when lockdown measures were eased.
Lao tourists have complained that food prices are too expensive in Vang Vieng, while the Song River is not as clean as before due to illegal waste dumping.
Meanwhile, a new Special Economic Zone project in Vang Vieng backed by Chinese investors is making headway, set to transform the tiny tourist town. Representatives of the SEZ say the project will include new roads, bridges across the Song River, a shopping center, a school, a hospital, unique temple grounds, and a convention center.
The project feasibility study, environmental and social impact assessment, and concession survey are now complete, while a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Lao-Vang Vieng New Area Development Company and the Government of Laos in 2018.
Laos has built an expressway linking Vientiane to Vang Vieng aimed at making travel to and from the town faster and more convenient. The expressway is set to open in December this year.