Laos pushing the tourism button; Savannakhet joins forces with other southern provinces for package tours

VIENTIANE, Feb 9 (Vientiane Times/ANN): Savannakhet authorities will partner with other southern provinces and tour companies to arrange package tours as part of the Lao Thiao Laos (Lao Visit Laos) tourism campaign.

The tours will take visitors to well-known places in each province and show them the way of life of local ethnic groups.

Deputy Head of Savannakhet’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Dr Phoxay Sithixonh, told Vientiane Times about the scheme on Monday.

In preparation for this, provincial authorities and tour operators recently visited places of interest including Tad Sakhoi waterfall, Tham Hod Hiew cave, Tad Sadee waterfall and Vat Seponkao temple.

They assessed the facilities provided and the need to improve access roads and install signposts, Dr Phoxay said.

Next month provincial authorities and tour operators will arrange for a convoy of vehicles to take visitors to these sites.

Vat Seponkao temple is revered by local residents, while Tad Sakhoi waterfall, Tham Hod Hiew cave and Tad Sadee waterfall are undeveloped and surrounded by lush vegetation.

Visitors can enjoy the glories of nature and fresh air and can be accommodated in homestays. This will allow them to learn about local lifestyles and sample the local food, organically grown vegetables, and coffee produced by villagers.

Savannakhet provincial authorities are in the process of obtaining concessions to develop several sites, Dr Phoxay said.

Savannakhet province has numerous places of interest such as Dong Ling (monkey forest), Tad Phalong and Salen waterfalls, as well as treks through protected areas and the chance to see some rare wildlife. There are also the Xayyaphoum and Taleo temples as well as the Hotay Pidok manuscript repository, a stone house and stone artefacts, and several villages are home to members of the Phouthai ethnic group.

Annual events include the rocket and boat racing festivals and Boun Pha That Phonh stupa festival.

Savannakhet province, about 480km from Vientiane, is full of fascinating sights and stunning landscapes. The province has 74 officially-designated nature-based sites, 32 places of cultural interest, and six historical sites, of which 112 are open to visitors, 24 are being registered and 60 are under development.

There are 49 hotels, 161 guesthouses and resorts, 215 restaurants, and seven entertainment venues, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism reported in 2019.

More than 144,000 visitors from Laos and other countries came to Savannakhet last year, a drop of 82 percent compared to 2019, according to the province’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department. - Vientiane Times/ANN

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