VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): A company from the Republic of Korea on Friday (June 2) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vientiane authorities on a plan to build a ‘golf & resort’ leisure site on an island in the Mekong River, aiming to tap Laos’ tourism potential.
The ‘Dream Land Lao’ project is proposed for the island village of Don Kangkhong in Sangthong district, targeting niche groups of tourists including fans of golf and water sports and those seeking health and beauty facilities.
Although there are a number of tourist sites, hotels, resorts and other services in existence, they do not meet the needs of these particular groups, Seojin Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd. (SEAC) said in its project proposal.
The company’s Director, Lee Seokseung, and the Director of the Vientiane Planning and Investment Department, Dr Bouavone Souklaseng, signed the MoU, witnessed by other representatives of the two parties, giving the green light to the company to carry out a feasibility study of the project.
Estimated to cost US$200 million in total, the company said it will be the sole investor in the project, which if approved would be located just over 60km north of the city centre.
The company’s project proposal outlines five zones, comprising a shopping and service centre, the village community, accommodation for golf players, a golf course, and a farming area for use by local residents.
The shopping and service centre would consist of healthcare and beauty services, hotels, convention halls, restaurants, a shopping centre, entertainment venues, outdoor performance venues, a public park, and wastewater treatment facilities.
To ease travel, a 12-metre-wide and 180-metre-long bridge will be built across the Mekong to the 450-hectare island, which is currently home to 506 people.
The company will ask for a 90-year concession on the site, with the possibility of an extension.
The developer said it foresees lucrative opportunities, thanks to the opening of the Laos-China Railway and the fact that the Covid-19 virus has been downgraded to the level of seasonal flu, which have resulted in more and more foreign visitors coming to Laos.
“Investors and tourists from China as well as tourists from across the region and worldwide will definitely flock to Laos,” the investor said in its proposal.
“The main target clients of this project are investors and tourists from European and Asian countries,” the company said, adding that it will work in partnership with local and foreign tour operators to bring in visitors from other countries.
The developer said it will make use of the cultural uniqueness and lifestyle of the local people to attract the interest of both local and foreign tourists.
During the initial stage, it is estimated that the site would attract somewhere between 500-1,000 visitors a month.
The investor promised to create jobs for local people and organise training to upgrade their skills, thus improving their quality of life.
Pledging that it would be an environmentally-friendly project, the company said it would strictly observe environmental impact assessment guidance.
It would also strive to be a role model in using renewable energy, with buildings at the site to have solar panels on the roof, while also aiming to produce zero solid waste.