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An inside view of Huaphan's offerings for Visit Laos Year 2018

Welcoming Visit Laos Year 2018, Vientiane Times publishes a series of feature articles and photographs inviting you to experience the authentic nature, culture, history and hospitality of South-East Asia's Simply Beautiful Laos.

Huaphan province was a revolutionary stronghold during the years of fighting against foreign aggressors before Laos proclaimed liberation on 2 December, 1975. Many caves in the province formed the homes and offices of important leaders including Presidents Kaysone Phomvihane, Souphanouvong, Khamtay Siphandone, and Nouhak Phoumsavanh. At that time, the country's leaders of today were born and grew up in these caves. Today the caves fascinate visitors along with the well known Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area. Apart from the caves and the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area, Huaphan has plenty of other places of interest. The province is a long way from Vientiane but this does not stop people finding their way here. Vientiane Times interviewed a senior official at the Huaphan provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department in charge of tourism, Ms Malaithong Bounyaxay, about the province's attractions in the run up to Visit Laos Year 2018.

A hot spring in Hiem district, Huaphan province.

Q: Huaphan is one of several provinces in Laos that interest domestic and foreign tourists, even though it's a long way from the capital. What are the places that hold the most appeal for visitors?

A: Well, Huaphan is known as a place of historical, cultural and natural interest and is sometimes called “The Hidden City”. When people come to visit they must take time to explore. In general, most visitors want to see the historic caves in Viengxay district, the Hintang Geological Park, Nam Nern Night Safari (Nam Et-Phou Louey), weaving and dyeing in Xamtay district, the Emien (Yao tribe), and a Hmong village.

Q: 2018 is Visit Laos Year. Will Huaphan be offering any special activities to attract more tourists?

A: During Visit Laos Year 2018, Huaphan will be celebrating the 50th liberation anniversary of Viengxay and Phathi. Both of these events wil l be observed nationally, so this will be quite important. In addition, various festivals and events will take place, such as Lao New Year, tribal festivals, and Ancestor Festival Day. There will also be trade fairs, trad itional fashion shows, a marathon, cycling and so on.

Q: As a senior official who has been working in tourism for more than 10 years, in your view what should the provincial authorities focus on when developing tourism in general, and why?

A: In preparation for Visit Laos Year 2018, the provincial authorities should focus on: 1) Tourism infrastructure in terms of access to the province and its attractions, especially air transport, land transport and internal transport; 2) Visitor attractions are the most important key to attracting more tourists. Some important areas should be developed and improved as they offer products that make the area special or unique; 3) We need more and better accommodation in response to the growing number of tourists; 4) Restaurants should improve their services and provide more types of food and beverages to cater to different types of tourist; 5) Visitor information services. The availability of accurate information is of prime importance to ensure that tourists have a quality visitor experience and are encouraged to stay longer; 6) More signs, to help people find places more easily; 7) Activities such as festivals and other events should be offered, to appeal to both international and domestic tourists; 8) Training for the improvement of services and hospitality. Other services are also in need of improvement, such as banking, internet and health facilities.


By Phon Thikeo
(Latest Update September 22, 2017)

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