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Feature: 1 year on, cross-border passenger service on China-Laos Railway achieves fruitful results

Source:Xinhua 2024-04-15

An international passenger train from Kunming of China to Vientiane of Laos arrives at Mohan port in southwest China's Yunnan Province, April 9, 2024. (Xinhua)

VIENTIANE, April 14 (Xinhua) -- One year ago, the cross-border passenger service on the China-Laos Railway was launched, contributing to socio-economic development in Laos, boosting regional connectivity, as well as providing stable dynamics for economic cooperation between Laos and China.

The China-Laos Railway started cross-border passenger service on April 13, 2023. Since then, the railway has become the preferred mode of transport for a growing number of international travelers due to its affordability, convenience and comfort.

So far, the China-Laos Railway has handled 110,962 cross-border passenger trips, including 55,532 inbound passengers and 55,430 outbound passengers, according to data released by the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. (LCRC) on Saturday.

The China-Laos Railway, which links the Lao capital Vientiane with Kunming, the capital of Southwest China's Yunnan Province, has brought great benefits to the Lao people and opened up a new path for Laos' development and prosperity.

"I am really happy to see that the cross-border train helps businessmen, tourists and students travel easier, faster, and safer. The railway has significantly bolstered passenger transportation, greatly facilitated travel and helped promote tourism in Laos since its launch, as well as attract more investors to Laos," Deputy Chief Engineer of the LCRC Vongthong Souphanthong told Xinhua.

Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Suanesavanh Vignaket, told media on Saturday that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Laos has increased significantly after the opening of the China-Laos Railway's international passenger service a year ago.

In 2023, the number of Chinese visitors increased to 641,314 from about 45,000 in 2022. Meanwhile, Laos welcomed more than 242,000 Chinese tourists in the first three months of 2024, said Suanesavanh.

"The launch of the cross-border passenger service is seen as a historic event, contributing to the cooperation between the Lao and Chinese governments," she added.

Chinese and Lao railway authorities on Saturday launched one more pair of trains for the China-Laos Railway's international passenger service. The pair of trains run between Xishuangbanna of China and Luang Prabang of Laos, two popular tourist destinations.

Chahwiwan Saelio, a Thai passenger, told Xinhua, "This is my first time taking the cross-border train. My family and I are going to Xishuangbanna for a vacation."

"We chose to travel by train because we think it's comfortable and fast. And we also can enjoy beautiful scenery during the ride," she said.

"I am delighted that the China-Laos Railway opened its cross-border passenger service. I think it has become a game changer for Laos, boosting tourism and providing smooth transport of goods and passengers," Sinhnoy Phommavichit, a 22-year-old man living in Luang Prabang province, told Xinhua on Saturday.

The China-Laos Railway, a landmark project showcasing the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, began operation in December 2021. The railway contributes to achieving Laos' goal of converting itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.

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