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Country's charms, culture on show for 2018 Visit Laos Year

The diverse cultures and customs of the country are set to be showcased and attract more foreign tourists to come to the country during 2018 Visit Laos Year, the event organiser has announced.

The 2018 Visit Laos Year is set to be launched as early as November during the annual That Luang Festival (That Luang Stupa Festival) in Vientiane, which is one of the biggest festive events in the country.

Provinces across the country are preparing to welcome visitors to cultural and traditional festivals, Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Ounethouang Khaophanh told the Vientiane Times last week.

Major activities and festivals to be organised throughout the 2018 Visit Laos Year, the third one of its kind, has been drafted and were being finalised at present, Mr Ounethouang said.

Visitors to the November That Luang Festival will enjoy a trade fair where local products and souvenirs will be made available.

Tourism products will also be displayed in booths at the That Luang Fair to enable visitors to acquire information on tourism activities and tourism-related services including special activities set for the 2018 Visit Lao Year.

Mr Ounethouang said those major annual cultural and traditional events and sites of each province which are considered must-see attractions would be included in the 2018 Visit Laos Year programme.

During the That Luang festival, the campaign will also be carried out to promote tourists to visit and admire locations in Vientiane including Hor Pha Keo Museum, Vat Sisaket Museum and Patuxay monument.

According to the drafted programmes, festivals and activities will be organised in provinces in a timing orders as follow:

In southern Sekong province, City Pillar Festival will be celebrated from January 21-23, 2018 when traditional performances from 10 ethnic groups will be showcased, according to the draft programmes.

Authorities in central Borikhmaxay province plans to organise Phonsan Temple festival in the same month (January).

This festival is considered by many Buddhists as one of the must-join activities based on a belief passed from generation to generation suggested that a Buddhist deity stopped to have a meal at the site.

An annual Dok Ngiew (kapok flower) Festival is scheduled to be held in northern Bokeo province from Feb 7-12 to showcase traditional activities of various communities.

Two northern provinces of Luang Namtha and Xayaboury plan to showcase Akha ethnic group's festival and annual Elephant Festival to admire visitors in Feb respectively. In the same month, southern Champassak province will celebrate the annual Vat Phou Temple festival with activities to thrill visitors to the World Heritage Site. Officials said authorities of each province in charge of tourism affairs are preparing highlights to make the 2018 Visit Laos Year meaningful and worth an extended visit to the nation.

Other highlights to be showcased in provinces also include Sikhot Stupa Festival in Khammuan province in Feb, Lao New Year Festival's grand celebration in the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang on April 13-16.

An annual boat racing festival in Vientiane in October and Vangvieng Music Festival in Vientiane province in December next year are also among those recommended for visitors.

The committee in charge of the 2018 Visit Laos Year also plans a A seven-day tour to several tourist sites in provinces for local and foreign journalists in February in an attempt to promote the nation's tourism.

An eight-day tour to tourist sites in the provinces is also planned for local and foreign tour operators alike.

A nine-day caravan to northern provinces and a seven-day version to southern provinces are set to be conducted to enable participants to enjoy cultures, tradition, natural scenes and local folk traditions of communities along the routes where the convoy passes and beyond.

Mr Ounethouang said the previous two Visit Laos Years, one in 2000 and another in 2012, resulted in a considerable increase in tourist arrivals in those years and the ones following.


By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update July 18, 2017)

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