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Tour Pakxong to promote tourism in Champassak

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.

As the people and authorities gear up to promote next year as Lao Tourism Year 2018, a group of cyclists has come up with a plan to ride to various sites in southern Champassak province to popularise them among domestic and foreign tourists.

Lao Tourism Year 2018 is one of the most important events for local authorities such as the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to welcome more travellers from around the world to the country.

Vientiane cyclists pose in front of Kongmadam museum in Pakxong district, Champassak province.

The group of four cyclists including Mr Chaleunsack Phimma, Khaokhamsion Inthirath, Anousith Bouphavong and Arthid Ladphakdy from Vientiane decided last week to take a trip to the southern region to promote tourist sites in Champassak along with local cyclists. The idea came to them after the world tourism year 2017 as they wanted to be part of activities to promote tourism in Laos.One of the cyclists, Mr Khaokhamsion Inthirath, told Vientiane Times that there are many cycling groups in Vientiane and in other provinces. “We cycle everywhere in Vientiane, but sometimes, we also ride in other provinces,” he said.

“We talked with friends and could gather only four people, due to various reasons, to travel to Champassak province beginning last weekend. Our major target is to ride from central Champassak province to visit many tourist sites in Paxong area, which has a wonderful atmosphere in the southern province,” he added.

He said the group wants to join other Lao sportspersons involved in promoting tourism and that they plan to take photos of the places they visit and their activities so that they can be circulated among the media in Laos and in neighbouring countries.

“This is just a small group of people who are not national representative athletes, but those who do love the sport,” Mr Khaokhamsion said, adding that he and his friends had earlier joined a social network group of cyclists from Thailand.

During their ride, the cyclists have posted photos on social media networks and received feedback from the public, including questions from other cyclists about how long it takes to get to certain places and which are the best places to cycle to.

The group's ride could serve as a model for all Lao people who want to promote Lao Tourism Year 2018, because media today comprises not just newspapers, radio and television channels and websites but also social media networks such as Facebook and other smartphone apps.

The Director of the Champassak Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Bouathong Souvannasane, said, “This is a really good activity that should be an example for other local people or cyclists. The number of cyclists is small but what they have done is much bigger than their numbers.”

“Every sector should think about promoting tourism in Laos via sports or other activities which can add value to the observance of Lao Tourism Year 2018,” he said.

The Vientiane cyclists travelled from Vientiane to Champassak province by pickup truck along with some friends during August 4-7. Last Saturday, they began their ride with some local cyclists from central Champassak to Pakxong area, a challenge area due to the altitude.

The cyclists visited interesting places during their ride, including the beautiful Sabaidee Valley, Tard Farn and Tard Nheuang waterfalls, Ong Kongmadam museum and the Skyline Lounge Pakxong Highland in Pakxong district.

The cyclists took three hours to ride about 50 km, with some areas locayed almost 1,400 metres above sea level.

The cyclists thanked the Soudavanh Construction Company of Xieng Khuang for supporting the trip to promote tourist sites. They said they would continue to join other cyclists to promote more sites in others provinces.

The Director of the Soudavanh Construction Company said he had never visited Champassak and so he went to the province with the cyclists to promote it.

“What I saw was very different from what I imagined it would be like, the city is big and clean and they have so many interesting tourist sites. So I will return to visit the province again with my family and friends from Xeing Khuang province,” he said.

The Tourism Development Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism reported recently that more than 4.23 million foreign visitors came to Laos in 2016, including more than 621,000 who visited Champassak province. Almost 420,000 visitors were recorded in the first six months of this year.

 

By Souknilundon Southivongnorath
(Latest Update August 12, 2017)


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