Mekong Institute (MI), with the support of the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF), organized an Investment Forum in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR from 7 to 8 November 2023. The forum is one of the five-part series under MI’s three-year Sustainable and Smart Tourism Development project, aiming to unlock economic and environmental potential of selected heritage provinces of the Mekong region, including the culturally-rich Ayutthaya, Luang Prabang, Siem Reap, Hue, and Bagan.
Served as a vital platform for investors, local government and the private sector to identify and discuss investment needs, interests, and opportunities, the event opened up opportunities to connect and pave the way for future partnerships. Its ultimate goal is to tranform the city into a sustainable and smart heritage destination.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Vilaythong MANIVONE, Vice Mayor of Luang Prabang City, stated, "The success of this forum will not only be measured in terms of financial gain but in the sustainable development, cultural preservation, and economic empowerment it will bring to our beloved heritage town and the Mekong region."
Building upon the Vice Governor's remarks, Mr. Madhurjya Dutta, Director of the Trade and Investment Facilitation Department, Mekong Institute, highlighted the importance of promoting tourism in Mekong heritage cities and expressed optimism that the forum would lay the groundwork for sustainable tourism development.
During the forum, Luang Prabang presented several key topics that are central to its vision of smart and sustainable tourism. These topics included Handicraft and Textile Promotion, emphasizing the importance of preserving and promoting the traditional handicrafts and textiles of Luang Prabang; Waste Management, recognizing the importance of responsible waste management to maintain the pristine beauty of the region and reduce environmental impact; Energy-Efficient House Roofing, exploring innovative solutions to ensure energy-efficient housing, contributing to both sustainability and the well-being of the local community; and One District One Product, a program aimed at identifying and promoting unique local products to stimulate economic growth and empower local communities.
The event was attended by 35 people from the Republic of Korea (RoK), the broader Mekong region, and Lao PDR. Key local stakeholders included representatives from provincial and city administration offices, the tourism department, business associations, chambers of commerce, local investors, and tourism and hospitality education providers.
Furthermore, on November 8, 2023, participants had the opportunity to engage in site visits to see firsthand the initiatives and projects that are currently underway in Luang Prabang. These visits offered practical insights into the efforts to promote smart and sustainable tourism, showcasing the town's commitment to preserving its rich cultural heritage while embracing innovation.
The next investment forums are expected to take place around the end of November in Siem Reap, Cambodia and Hue, Viet Nam.