New Laos bridge accelerates cross-country tourism

31st Jul 2013

Laos-bound holidaymakers on group tours should find it easier to explore neighbouring countries from next month.

That's when the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge is expected to be fully opened.

This magnificent structure spans the Mekong River linking Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai province with Huayxay town in Laos' Bokeo province.

Huayxay has a road link to the Lao-Chinese border and is a stop for visitors on city breaks who travel downstream by boat or speedboat to Luang Prabang, the former Lao capital.

Huayxay's leading tourist attraction is the ruins of an ancient French fort, located on a hill overlooking the town and the Mekong river.

The town has regular airport flights to the Laos capital of Vientiane for tourists to explore.

Over 300,000 holidaymakers visited the northern Lao province of Bokeo in 2012.

Bokeo has already recorded over 200,000 visitors in the first half of 2013.

Laos is hoping to welcome 3.7 million visitors annually by 2015.

This should help generate 15.5 billion baht (£328.3 million) for its economy.

It greeted 3.4 million tourists in 2012, a rise from 2.7 million on the year before.

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