Why was Claude Vincent, Director of SODETOUR in Laos, murdered ?

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Why was Claude Vincent, Director of SODETOUR in Laos, murdered ?

Post by Pers » Sun, 20 Oct 1996 04:00:00


Why was Claude Vincent, Director of SODETOUR in Laos, ***ed ?

VIENTIANE TIMES - September 20-26, 1996 - by AY MIT

A TRUE FRIEND OF LAOS

No foreigner has loved Laos a much as Claude Vincent.
This affirmation was on almost everybody's lips at his funeral
last week.A crowd of friends and relatives packed Vat Nongbone's
cremation ground to pay their last respects to the man who had
adopted Laos as his country and had been adopted by the Lao people
as one of their own.As the rain poured down uninterrupted, someone
murmured "Even the heavens are crying for him".
Claude Vincent, who died on September 11, will be cruelly missed
by his family and friends.His death will also leave a vacuum in
the tourism industry in this country.
He planted the seed of entrepreneurship needed in the new Laos.As
one of the pioneers in making the Land of a Million Elephants
known abroad, he, at the same time, jealously treasured this
country.He didn't want to sell off Laos dirt cheap.
"Only people who deserve it should come to Laos", he liked to
say.Then, to those who "deserved it" he would spend time
explaining Laos, talking lengthily about its situation, its
problems, its development efforts, its culture and its
people.Those tourists would go back home with a knowledge and an
understanding of Laos.He would have communicated them his love of
the country.
"Laos has invaluable assets" he told Vientiane Times in September
1994."Europeans are impressed by its past history.Mekong,Plain of
jars are names they have learnt in their history books and are
places they have been dreaming of an hoping to visit for
years.Visiting those mysteryshrouded places is fulfilling their
youthful dreams.
"Another important asset is nature - pure and unspoiled.People
like forests, mountains, rivers and, why not, dirth and mud.People
from Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore are fed up with high rise
buildings, concrete jungles, crowds and pollution.They crave raw
nature and its pristine beauty.This is what Laos has to offer" he
said.
With authenticity as an obsession, he created SODETOUR in 1992
with two Lao partners to develop quality tourism in the south.
Starting with Saravane province, he built the Tad Lo Resort,
composed with bungalows in the region's traditional architecture
with 16 rooms and a restaurant close to the breathtaking Tad Lo
waterfall.Taking an elephant ride in the jungle was the most
popular attraction.
Then he opened Sala Done Khong on the biggest island in the Mekong
River, offerinng 14 bedrooms and a restaurant in a twin
traditional Lao house.On Khone Island, which is the southernmost
island on the Mekong River on the Cambodian border, he restored a
colonial style house to set up the Sala Done Khone.
Guests on both islands can experience the life of the islanders
who are mainly fishermen and farmers.Island hopping is another
attraction as it takes only a couple of hours to journey from
Khong to Khone where the roaring Phapheng and Liphi rapids are
located.Claude Vincent was offered to build a hotel on Khone
island with a view to the rapids.He refused saying the site should
stay wild and natural and should not be spoilt by massive human
intrusion.
In Champassak town Claude Vincent renovated a 10-room hotel,the
Auberge des Temples.Guests are offered visits to the pre-Angkorian
site of Vat Phu and the three Khmer towers of Ban That and the
Nang Sida Temple which can be reached by trekking.In Pakse, The
Residence du Champa is a 22-room modern hotel run by Sodetour
co-director Somlith Somphonsay.In Savannaket, the other
co-director, Vannivong Soumphonphakdy, runs Sala Savan, the
downtown seven-room "Heavenly Pavilion"
To attract people to stay longer in Xiengkhouang province Vincent
opened the Auberge de la Plaine des Jarres, a comfortable hillside
villa overlooking the Plain of Jars with meeting and seminar
facilities.
Claude Vincent never rested on his laurels.His latest project was
a hotel on the Xieng Maen side of the Mekong River overlooking
Luang Prabang.Of course all regulations concerning the
architecture and the materials used for the construction were to
be abided by.
"We must respect Luang Prabang" he said even the town received the
World Heritage status.
Claude Vincent has made Laos a tourist destination.He didn't want
it to be a mere stop over in a regional package tour.And he
succeeded.But his work must be carried on,with the same love and
respect for Laos and its people.

by AY MIT - VIENTIANE TIMES - SEPTEMBER 20-26, 1996

 
 
 

Why was Claude Vincent, Director of SODETOUR in Laos, murdered ?

Post by Pers » Sun, 20 Oct 1996 04:00:00


Why was Claude Vincent, Director of SODETOUR in Laos, ***ed ?

VIENTIANE TIMES - September 20-26, 1996 - by AY MIT

A TRUE FRIEND OF LAOS

No foreigner has loved Laos a much as Claude Vincent.
This affirmation was on almost everybody's lips at his funeral
last week.A crowd of friends and relatives packed Vat Nongbone's
cremation ground to pay their last respects to the man who had
adopted Laos as his country and had been adopted by the Lao people
as one of their own.As the rain poured down uninterrupted, someone
murmured "Even the heavens are crying for him".
Claude Vincent, who died on September 11, will be cruelly missed
by his family and friends.His death will also leave a vacuum in
the tourism industry in this country.
He planted the seed of entrepreneurship needed in the new Laos.As
one of the pioneers in making the Land of a Million Elephants
known abroad, he, at the same time, jealously treasured this
country.He didn't want to sell off Laos dirt cheap.
"Only people who deserve it should come to Laos", he liked to
say.Then, to those who "deserved it" he would spend time
explaining Laos, talking lengthily about its situation, its
problems, its development efforts, its culture and its
people.Those tourists would go back home with a knowledge and an
understanding of Laos.He would have communicated them his love of
the country.
"Laos has invaluable assets" he told Vientiane Times in September
1994."Europeans are impressed by its past history.Mekong,Plain of
jars are names they have learnt in their history books and are
places they have been dreaming of an hoping to visit for
years.Visiting those mysteryshrouded places is fulfilling their
youthful dreams.
"Another important asset is nature - pure and unspoiled.People
like forests, mountains, rivers and, why not, dirth and mud.People
from Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore are fed up with high rise
buildings, concrete jungles, crowds and pollution.They crave raw
nature and its pristine beauty.This is what Laos has to offer" he
said.
With authenticity as an obsession, he created SODETOUR in 1992
with two Lao partners to develop quality tourism in the south.
Starting with Saravane province, he built the Tad Lo Resort,
composed with bungalows in the region's traditional architecture
with 16 rooms and a restaurant close to the breathtaking Tad Lo
waterfall.Taking an elephant ride in the jungle was the most
popular attraction.
Then he opened Sala Done Khong on the biggest island in the Mekong
River, offerinng 14 bedrooms and a restaurant in a twin
traditional Lao house.On Khone Island, which is the southernmost
island on the Mekong River on the Cambodian border, he restored a
colonial style house to set up the Sala Done Khone.
Guests on both islands can experience the life of the islanders
who are mainly fishermen and farmers.Island hopping is another
attraction as it takes only a couple of hours to journey from
Khong to Khone where the roaring Phapheng and Liphi rapids are
located.Claude Vincent was offered to build a hotel on Khone
island with a view to the rapids.He refused saying the site should
stay wild and natural and should not be spoilt by massive human
intrusion.
In Champassak town Claude Vincent renovated a 10-room hotel,the
Auberge des Temples.Guests are offered visits to the pre-Angkorian
site of Vat Phu and the three Khmer towers of Ban That and the
Nang Sida Temple which can be reached by trekking.In Pakse, The
Residence du Champa is a 22-room modern hotel run by Sodetour
co-director Somlith Somphonsay.In Savannaket, the other
co-director, Vannivong Soumphonphakdy, runs Sala Savan, the
downtown seven-room "Heavenly Pavilion"
To attract people to stay longer in Xiengkhouang province Vincent
opened the Auberge de la Plaine des Jarres, a comfortable hillside
villa overlooking the Plain of Jars with meeting and seminar
facilities.
Claude Vincent never rested on his laurels.His latest project was
a hotel on the Xieng Maen side of the Mekong River overlooking
Luang Prabang.Of course all regulations concerning the
architecture and the materials used for the construction were to
be abided by.
"We must respect Luang Prabang" he said even the town received the
World Heritage status.
Claude Vincent has made Laos a tourist destination.He didn't want
it to be a mere stop over in a regional package tour.And he
succeeded.But his work must be carried on,with the same love and
respect for Laos and its people.

by AY MIT - VIENTIANE TIMES - SEPTEMBER 20-26, 1996