Vientiane Province should not be confused with Vientiane Municipality, which is the capital of Laos. These two jurisdictions used to be part of one another until 1989 when they were split. Located in the northwest of Laos, Vientiane Province borders Sayabouli Province to the west, Luang Prabang Province to the north, Xiangkhoang Province to the northeast, Bolikhamxay Province to the east, and Vientiane Municipality and Thailand to the south. Its ten districts spread over a total land area of 15,927 km2. Phone Hong, about 70 kilometers north of Vientiane Capital, is the province’s capital.
According to the 2014 census, the province’s population is 473,000 (female: 233,000). Vientiane Plain which covers Vientiane Province and Vientiane Municipality is the largest plain in the country. Situated in the lower reaches of the Nam Ngum River Basin, it is one of the nation’s largest food production hubs. The province has a total rice production land area of 66,768 hectares which yields approximately 269,960 tons of rice a year. Other popular crops and produce in Vientiane Province include corn, Job’s-tears, cassava, bananas, limes, cucumbers, sweet tamarin, tobacco, and watermelons.
By 2009, the province had granted nearly 300,000 hectares of land concessions to foreign investors or joint ventures in mining, agro-fuel, rubber, wood, food and other investment sectors. Some notable projects are gold and silver mining of Phu Bia Mining Co.; lignite mineral exploration of Lanexang Economic Development Co., Ltd.; and several Jatropha plantations of KoLao Farm Co., Ltd.
In its 8th Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020), the Lao government encourages more sustainable agricultural productions that link to processing. Vientiane is among the chosen provinces for agro-processing industry. Production centers have been founded for crop seeds and animal breeders. The goals are to scientifically promote good seeds that yield short-lived crops as well as to boost economic plants and animals. A number of fishery demonstration centers and fresh water fish breed production centers have been constructed to meet the market demand within the province and surrounding areas. The government also plans to construct handicraft centers for bamboos and rattan weaving in the province to produce commercial goods. Other government’s ambitions for Vientiane Province from 2016 to 2020 are to develop chemical plants such as chlorides, sodium salt, alkali, and kali fertilizer and to explore more electricity generation potentials.
The Lao government is committed to environmentally and socially sustainable development. Therefore, investor(s) will be required to complete either an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), for smaller projects with minimal impacts, or an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), for larger projects that involve the public participation and seeks to mitigate negative impacts while maximizing benefits.
Vientiane Province is blessed with many attractive sites. The heaven-on-earth beauty of Vang Vieng, the big, open sky and vast freshwater of Nam Ngum Dam Reservoir, the magnificent sight of Phu Khau Khouay Mountain, to name a few. Tourism in Vientiane Province, especially in Vang Vieng, has skyrocketed in the past decade. Accordingly, accommodation services have been expanded and improved to meet the demands. As of 2014, there are 13 hotels, 272 guesthouses, 208 restaurants, and 26 nightclubs operating throughout Vientiane Province. The province’s natural resource abundance, good road conditions, and close proximity to the nation’s capital make it a desirable investment destination for domestic and foreign investors.
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