ADB grants to boost Lao tourism, city services

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Laos signed grant agreements on October 16 worth $125.5 million in total for three projects in the tourism and urban sectors.

“Vibrant, liveable cities and towns play an important role in the development of industry and services, particularly manufacturing, agro-business, and tourism”, said Yasushi Negishi, ADB country director for Laos.

“The three grants demonstrate ADB’s commitment to help the Lao PDR (People’s Democratic Republic) sustainably manage urbanisation, tourism, and attract investments that create good jobs in a wide range of economic sectors, helping the country to be eligible to graduate from the least developed country status by 2020”, he said

The agreements were signed by Mr Negishi and Lao Deputy Minister of Finance Thipphakone Chanthavongs at a ceremony in Vientiane attended by senior government officials.

Mekong integration

The first of the grants comprised $47 million in funding for the Second Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project, which was approved by ADB’s Board of Directors in August.

The grant will support efforts by the Ministry of Tourism to rehabilitate last-mile access roads to tourism destinations, improve tourism-related urban environmental services, and enhance sustainable tourism management in Luang Prabang, Vientiane, and Champasak provinces.

The project’s climate-resilient transport, urban infrastructure investments, and support for tourism capacity building are designed to boost tourism development and deepen the Lao government’s economic integration with its neighbours in the GMS and wider Asean region.

The second grant consists of $48 million for the Fourth GMS Corridor Towns Development Project, approved in September.

The funding will be implemented by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) to improve urban environmental services, including the construction of wastewater treatment plants and sewerage networks.

The project will also address solid waste management and river embankments for flood protection in the towns of Pakxan and Thakhek.

It will also support the preparation of town master plans with climate-resilience and gender-responsive measures for both areas to support growth and regional connectivity.

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