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Vientiane Times



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Thursday February 7, 2013

Banks given positive outlook

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Luxury resort shows Vangvieng in a new light Times Reporters

Ms Souphayphone Manotham and Mr Alexander Nondh Langfeldt between BCEL and TMB.

Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL) will undertake to provide a local service supplement for the Thai Military Bank (TMB), regarding cash management for TMB clients operating businesses in Laos. The agreement on between the two banks was signed in Luang Prabang on Saturday, by BCEL Deputy Managing Director Ms Souphayphone Manotham and Head of Corporate Banking of TMB Mr Alexander Nondh Langfeldt. It was witnessed by Luang Prabang provincial governor Dr khampheng Xaysompheng, BCEL General Managing Director Mr Vankham Voravong, Chief Wholesale Banking Office of TMB Mr Piti Tantakasem, and officials from both sides. The signing of the agreement represents the continuation of cooperation between the two banks after they signed a Memorandum of Understanding in regard to the matter in Bangkok Thailand in the middle

of last year. According to the agreement, BCEL will serve to manage cash for companies who are TMB clients operating businesses in Laos, especially in facilitating cash transactions in the country for TMB clients whose accounts are supplemented by BCEL. The cooperation will further the exchange of experience between the two sides in developing and modernising the banks, and enhancing satisfaction of clients of the two banks, the respective parties agreed. The cooperation between BCEL and TMB comes as organisations in the public and private sectors in Laos as well as other Asean countries are working to prepare for advent of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. At the signing ceremony, Mr Vankham said the cooperation project is an important step for BCEL and TMB towards becoming stronger business partners that can provide better services to clients of the respective banks. “The cooperation will

is not as noisy as it used to be. Recently, locals have noticed that there are more and more groups of older tourists from Asian and western countries who come to experience the real nature of the place and the relaxed lifestyle of local people. Vangvieng still has plenty of excitement to offer though, such as river tubing, kayaking, rafting, caving, trekking to mountains and waterfalls, mountain biking, rock climbing, ballooning, off-road trike riding and swimming. Being only a three-hour-drive away from Vientiane, it’s the perfect place for a weekend away. “I think the change is good, however, we still can do more to balance things,” says Mr Vigié. He thinks that the local business owners should think more outside of the box and try to offer different things to the tourists. A look around town shows he’s right: Most of the restaurants look similar in concept

For the last year, news about the small town on the Nam Xong river made headlines in newspapers around the world. The image of Vangvieng involved hordes of young western tourists, drinking, jumping hazardously into the river and crowding open-air bars with noisy music. It made Vangvieng one of the most “famous” tourist places in the country. But this might not be the true Vangvieng afterall. “Vangvieng is about relaxing, the simple display the agreement reached lifestyle of the nearby villages and all of this wonderful scenery”, says Stéphane Vigié, co-owner of the recently opened Riverside Boutique. The luxurious hotel opened in July 2012 after taking three years to develop, and aims to change the image of Vangvieng for the better. It’s located right on the banks of also build preparedness for Nam Xong river with a beautiful the two banks towards the AEC, responding to growing competitiveness in the banking business and the dynamic economic growth in the region,” he added. Chief Wholesale Banking Office of TMB Mr Piti Tantakasem noted that loan services are not the main services provided by banks because they are not drawn out every day, and they need to focus on other areas of business as well. Convenient money transfer and payment services which satisfy customers are very important to the banking business, Mr Piti said, because they occur in large numbers The Riverside Boutique Resort is a new luxury resort in Vangvieng, located along the Nam Xong river with every day. He stressed that by a marvelous view. cooperating, the two banks could solve the problems of their view of the karst mountains on the says: “One important thing to and style, designed to cater to the attract visitors are people. The backpacker crowd. customers together, providing other side. With 34 rooms distributed resort mostly hires people from The Riverside Boutique better standards of services and around the central swimming pool, different ethnic minorities who are Resort definitely stands out. “The greater customer satisfaction. BCEL now has 18 branches, as well as a bar, restaurant and a friendly and create a welcoming great hotels will always draw the visitors come back to visit again,” 44 service units, 195 ATMs and large conference room, the resort atmosphere for the visitors.” Their success so far proves Mr Vigié says. “Tourism, if done 1,250 electronic data capture blends Lao traditions, ethnic arts machines installed in various and French colonial architecture to the two entrepreneurs right: Just right, has great potential for Laos shops and stores throughout the celebrate the exceptional diversity a little over a year after the grand and can contribute substantially to of the country. opening the resort is mostly fully poverty reduction in the country,” country. booked. “We didn’t expect that”, he adds. Mr Vigié says. The government Nowadays, you start seeing recently shut down many of the adult groups of people drinking open air bars and decided to glasses of wine, happily talking ban some dangerous activities amongst their group while such as the flying foxes into enjoying the views of Nam Xong the Nam Xong. There are river and the mountain chains still many teenagers visiting from the luxury of upmarket Vangvieng, though the town hotels and resorts.

BCEL to implement service supplement for TMB

Times Reporters

Mr Vigié remembers that when he first told people about his idea of building a luxury resort in Vangvieng, they thought it would be bad idea. “However, I want to do something different here. I knew Vangvieng is good location with wonderful scenery and a diversity of ethnic people.” Even if you visit the resort several times, you won’t get bored of it, as the rooms are designed and decorated in the styles of eight different ethnic groups of Laos: the Akha, Hmong, Katu, Lanten, Lao Lum, Tai Daeng, Tai Lue and Yao. Mr Vigié personally went to the effort to buy all the different pillows and decorative items directly from local villagers. Riverside Boutique manag ement als o try to consider the diversity of Lao people when hiring their staff. Thephalak Phanrajsavong, the co-owner who manages the Green Park hotel in Vientiane,

Exchange rates as of February 6, 2013 Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao

Foreign Currencies



US Dollar 50-100



Thai Baht



Euro 50-500



Luxury Resort shows Vangvieng in a new light  
Luxury Resort shows Vangvieng in a new light  

Vientiane Times article dated 7 February 2013