Laos imposes stricter measures for protecting world heritage

NAM NEWS NETWORK Feb 10th, 2010

VIENTIANE, Feb 10 (NNN-KPL) — Laos’ Luang Prabang administration has prepared a new measure and regulation for sustainable conservation and protection of the world heritage town by tightening up the construction of accommodations, guesthouses and hotels in accordance with the status of being a world heritage town.

In addition, entrepreneurs will not be granted concession lands for construction within the perimeter of the conservation area which will impact on long traditional living conditions of local residents, and change the livelihood and fine customs and traditions of local people.

A committee in charge of Luang Prabang Tourism Office disclosed that Luang Prabang province administration in collaboration with the Government was preparing measures aimed at reducing the risks of urban development which might damage archaeological sites in the world heritage site, particularly the construction of accommodations, guesthouses and hotels.

Mr Khamphoui Phommavong, Head of the Provincial Tourism Service, said that a large number of tourists arriving in Laos will head to Luang Prabang province, which generate considerable income to the provincial administration and local residents. On average, 70 per cent of the province’s total income stems from tourism while 30 per cent is produced by other sectors.

Last year, more than 400,000 tourists visited Luang Prabang province, mostly from Asia. This year this serene town in northern Laos is expected to welcome half a million tourists, Mr Khamphoui predicted, adding that one tourist will spend no less than US$70 a per day and US$15 for domestic visitor.

Tourist arrivals in this former royal capital are expected to grow amid the ongoing recovery of the global financial crisis. In the meantime, the domestic political stability will be a favourable condition for the positive trend of tourism, he explained.

Realising the potential advantages of tourism, the Luang Prabang province administration in collaboration with relevant sectors pays attention to developing tourist sites such as natural, historical, cultural tourism sites and the tourism of ethnic livelihood.

Facilities and standards of guesthouses, hotels and restaurants are also of attention of the local authorities. Since they could convey and represent the warmth, feelings, ambience and specific identities of Luang Prabang to tourists and visitors.

Presently, the number of tourism facilities in the province, including hotels, guesthouses and restaurants, is to no less than 296 units. These include 41 hotels and resorts and 255 guesthouses, according to the latest survey of the provincial tourism service.

However, he expressed concerns with the rapid development in Luang Prabang province, which would bring about changes to the world heritage town and livelihood of local residents if land concession is granted inside the world heritage town site.

Local residents in the inner part of the town have voluntarily moved to the suburb, thus changing the local living conditions and leaving customs and traditions die out little by little such as the morning procession of Buddhist monks for alms from local residents, which is an attractive sight for tourists. — NNN-KPL

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