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Xayaboury Province to launch Visit Laos Year during elephant festival

Updated:2018-01-05 10:45:07   vientianetimes.org.la

Xayaboury province will officially launch Visit Laos Year 2018 during the annual Elephant Festival which will take place from February 16-22 in Xayaboury district.

The festival organising committee is preparing various activities and readying accommodation for visitors, an official from the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Saisamone Phengduang, said.

They are also preparing home-stays to cater for the expected influx of visitors this year, he added.

“During the festival, the residents of five villages in Xayaboury district and two villages in Phieng district will open up their homes to visitors in the absence of sufficient guesthouses and hotels, which is what we’ve done in previous years.”

This year 69 elephants will take part in events such as a grand parade, a baci ceremony, and a beauty contest.
Visitors can take a ride on an elephant and watch them being bathed in the river.

Mahouts are training their animals to demonstrate their skills and the close relationship they have with their owners.

The festival will also feature a street market with stalls selling local products and goods from neighbouring countries, aiming to promote the province’s colourful culture and generate revenue.

The event will spotlight the past and present role that elephants play in Laos, and their importance in Lao history and lifestyle.

The Elephant Festival has become symbolic of Xayaboury and will be one of the province’s star attractions during Visit Laos Year 2018, according to the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department. 

The first Elephant Festival took place in 2007 in Hongsa district. It was subsequently held in Paklai district and then in Xayaboury district, which has hosted the event since 2012.

Last year, more than 150,000 local and foreign tourists visited Xayaboury for the festival. Most of the Lao visitors came from neighbouring provinces and Vientiane, while 90 percent of the foreign tourists were from Thailand.

In 2016 more than 290,000 Lao and foreign nationals visited Xayaboury, with the number dropping to about 209,000 people in 2017. The province is preparing a range of activities for Visit Laos Year 2018, including the annual rice festival (Boun Kong Khao Yai) from January 8-12 in Phieng district, Boun Phee Ta Khon in March in Paklai district, and the boat racing festival in September in Xayaboury district.

Keywords:   Laos
Editor: Eric Wang