Thai Retail Giant Sets Sights on Lao Visitors with New Investment Plans in Border Provinces

Representational image from Robinson Lifestyle mall in Chonburi, Thailand. (Photo: Oriental Studio/ Rungkit Charoenwat)

Thailand’s largest shopping mall operator, Central Pattana Plc (CPN), plans to invest THB 3 billion (approximately USD 83 million) in the northeastern provinces of Nakhon Phanom and Nong Khai as a response to the growing number of visitors from Laos.

The company is working on the opening of a new shopping mall in Nong Khai in 2024 with an investment of THB 1 billion (about USD 27 million), the Bangkok Post reported.

“Nong Khai has the highest value of Thai-Laos border trade in Thailand, at no less than 80 billion baht per year. The province attracts over 2 million tourists per year and boasts a tourism revenue of over 3.35 billion baht,” stated Tos Chirathivat, Executive Chairman and CEO of Central Group.

Tos added that another mall is scheduled to open in the special economic zone of Nakhon Phanom in the fourth quarter of 2024, with a retail development worth THB 2 billion (approximately USD 55 million). The mall will be located right across the Lao district of Thakhek in Khammouane province.

“The development of the mall plays an essential part in increasing Nakhon Phanom’s potential to be a trendy city in Isan that will capture the hearts of tourists with its own hipster style,” said Tos in another statement published on the Central Group’s website.

Central Group’s investments in Nakhon Phanom and Nong Khai aims at transforming the provinces into tourist destinations, boosting economies in the subregion, the CEO said.

Despite rising prices and high inflation, many Lao residents continue to travel to Thailand.