Laos Looking to High-Speed Rail Link with China in Order to Boost Tourism
- Posted by Newsdesk
- On 25th August 2017
- china, High-Speed Rail, Kunming, Laos, Sichuan Airlines, Vientiane
Lacking the “sun, sea and sand” attractions of many of its regional neighbours, Laos is hoping that a planned high-speed rail link with China will help grow its tourism sector.
Planned for completion in 2022, the confirmed connection between Laos and China will be the first step in a wider, regional infrastructure project, which would see a pan-southeast Asian railway system built with Chinese technology reaching as far as Singapore. Trains would reach speeds of over 200 km/h and a common rail gauge with China would allow for seamless cross-border travel.
While 2016 saw Thailand attract 32 million international tourists, Malaysia 26.8 million and Vietnam 10 million, Laos saw only 4.2 million international arrivals, around 550,000 of which were Chinese. While many of its regional rivals attract younger backpacker and sun-seeker demographics, Laos is hoping that its less-developed tourism economy will in fact be a positive factor in its charm as a destination for Chinese visitors.
While the planned train line is still a number of years from completion, Laos is nevertheless already seeing an increase in direct flights to China, with Vientiane having been connected to Kunming by a Sichuan Airlines in May 2017, in addition to a connection with Haikou, which commenced service in 2016.
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