Boten.com launched its upgraded website on 24 August 2020, to provide information on “Beautiful Boten”. The Specific Economic Zone (SEZ) on the Lao-China border is currently being transformed into a tourism and commercial center along the upcoming high-speed railway running from Kunming to Vientiane.
Stringybark Media Marketing Manager Callum Sherwood is overseeing Boten.com, and aims to present a living website that will grow alongside the blossoming destination.
“The objective is to educate the wider audience about Boten and its expected boom once the pending railway works are completed,” Mr Sherwood said. The $7-billion electric high-speed railway and strategic Boten station are set to open in late 2021, while Chinese developers continue constructing the $1.5 billion Beautiful Boten project.
In the past, Boten chased the Chinese market, who were drawn by the now-outlawed casinos. However, the new railway and SEZ will change the face of the targeted travelers.
According to Mr Sherwood, Boten.com is aiming for a much broader audience, though he understands the reality that there is “no way to put this (information) in all markets and regions. The content listed on the website will aid travelers, along with potential investors who are curious about Boten.”
Mr Sherwood also sees the possibilities for Boten to attract adventure tourists visiting Luang Namtha Province, in north-western Laos, to spend a day or two before boarding the train to their next stop.
“I do believe this will be the case,” Mr Sherwood said of Luang Namtha tourists, and those riding the railway north from Vientiane Capital’s terminal, with stations in Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, and Oudomxay before reaching Boten and the Chinese border.
He also finds potential in travelers heading south from China into Laos. “People may have had a long journey from mainland China and wish to spend a night or a few in Boten to enjoy the attractions and sights which are in place to be built.”
Mr Sherwood adds that alongside holidaymakers, Boten has the opportunity to become a MICE destination due to its position as a commercial center with high-rise upscale hotels offering a range of meeting and event facilities.
“I believe in the future, Boten will be the first touch point between mainland China and Laos, meaning MICE activity along with general tourism will be the stronghold of the town,” he said.
Much like the SEZ, Boten.com now has a solid foundation, and will grow along with the Beautiful Boten project that includes 18-story towers with hotels, offices, and duty-free shops in the Central Business District (CBD). Tourism attractions, a golf course, international train and bus stations, and factories will sit on the perimeter.
According to Mr Sherwood, “As new establishments open, I will continuously update the website with their details. I’m also planning to build a directory in the very near future, which will also sit on the website.”
Currently, Boten.com features five main menu items, each directing site visitors to much-needed information to prepare for a stay in Beautiful Boten.
Hotels in Boten presents accommodation hosting travelers and businesspeople investing in the SEZ and engineers constructing the site, though more high-end accommodation is rising in the CBD and surrounding area.
Most Boten Restaurants line the Dining District near the border. The website explains the Sichuan dishes that dominate the menus, due to the large Chinese market, while pinpointing interesting eateries.
While many Boten Attractions are in the development phase, Boten.com points visitors to the current highlights. The Boten Eccelente Cabaret has been packing the venue for years, while the three-story Boten Duty-Free Mall offers deals on brand-name goods. Boten.com also directs visitors 55 km south to Luang Namtha Town for a day-tour to experience Lao nature, culture, and history.
The website introduces the People of Boten and the surrounding area. The Tai Lue originally settled in Boten, while several diverse ethnic groups passed through on their migration from China into north-western Laos.
Boten.com also chronicles the History of Boten, from the zone’s birth in 2003, through its gambling era and eventual shutdown in 2011, to its more strategic vision for the future with ongoing construction.
Building at Beautiful Boten is booming, and Boten.com is rising with it as the “go to” website for the latest and most complete information on the born-again tourist destination and commercial hub.
Written by : Bernie Rosenbloom
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