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Borikhamxay province of Laos kicks off tourism year

Updated:2017-12-29 10:37:03   vientianetimes.org.la

After Visit Laos Year 2018 was officially launched in Vientiane last month during the That Luang Stupa Festival, Borikhamxay province yesterday opened its own tourism year to coincide with the Phabathpholsan Stupa festival.

Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Ounthuang Khaophan, and senior officials from Borikhamxay and other provinces attended the opening ceremony.

Speaking at the event, Governor of Borikhamxay province Dr Kongkeo Xaysongkham said “On behalf of the province, I would like to invite all domestic and international tourists to visit our tourist attractions and the festivals that will be organised each month.”

Head of the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Khen Lomany, said “We held the opening ceremony at the Phabathpholsan Stupa, which was named a provincial heritage site in January 2016. Borikhamxay is also the first province in Laos to achieve provincial heritage status.”

Borikhamxay is planning 20 activities as part of Visit Laos Year 2018, with events to take place in various districts each month.

There will be boat races at Hadxaikhao on the Mekong River in Pakxan district; the Hmong New Year festival will be celebrated in every district; activities will take place at Phoutavan Farm (Sunflower Farm) in Thaphabath district; Lao New Year will be celebrated in Khamkeuth district; there will be a walk for health in Pakxan district; a Naga rocket festival will take place in Thaphabath district; the Miss Ethnic contest is planned for Pakxan district; and the Phouvieng Stupa festival will draw the crowds in Viengthong district.

Also of interest are Vang Nam Yen (Blue Lagoon Pool) in Napavan village, Khamkeuth district;  the rocket festival in Khuay Oudom village; end of Buddhist Lent celebrations in Pakxan district; New Year festival of the Thang ethnic group in Napae and Nong-or villages in Khamkeuth district; a caravan activity; Kalerk festival in Pakkading district; a makbeng contest (the decorative floral centrepiece of Baci ceremonies) in Pakxan district; sunset festival to observe the two colours at the confluence of the Xan and Mekong rivers in Pakxan district; khaochi (grilled sticky rice) festival; and the start of Buddhist Lent.

Visitors can also observe traditional houses representing ethnic groups from Laos, Thailand and Vietnam that were built for display purposes in Khamkeuth district, and learn about the lifestyle of the ethnic groups.

Thanks to the district’s close location to its neighbours, a one-day programme has been arranged so that visitors can have breakfast in Thailand, lunch in Laos, and dinner in Vietnam.

The province has held two previous Visit Laos Year events – the first in 1999-2000 and the second in 2011-2012 - as part of national tourism drives. This year’s event will be the third in an attempt to attract more tourists, Mr Khen said.

“Opening up our province to tourism is very important. This year’s programme not only aims to promote tourism but also to preserve the country’s traditions and culture. The arrival of more tourists will directly and indirectly stimulate the economy and give a boost to tourism-related businesses.”

Since 2012, the number of visitors to Borikhamxay has increased from 135,735 that year to 231,920 visitors in 2016.  The income generated has also risen, from over US$4 million in 2012 to over US$8 million in 2015, he said.

This year the province hopes to attract at least 300,000 people and revenue of US$9 million.

Borikhamxay has 104 officially designated tourist sites, of which three are historical, 12 are of cultural interest, and 89 are nature-based.       

Keywords:   tourism year
Editor: Eric Wang