A host of cultural, sports and tourism activities are expected to boost visitor numbers to the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, Vietnam, in the coming months.
It is anticipated around 400,000 tourists will visit the region between April and June this year, as events such as the Sa Pa in the Cloud Festival and the Bac Ha Traditional Horse Race take place.
The 8th National Sports Festival for Ethnic Minorities in provinces from Thua Thien-Hue northwards is also set to attract a high number of visitors, as is a ceremony to announce Sa Pa town as a fourth-tier city.
Tran Huu Son, director of Lao Cai Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the province is currently training tour guides, improving services, ensuring food hygiene and safety, and generally cleaning popular sites in order to meet the increasing demand of tourists.
Lao Cai welcomed 318,000 tourists, including 152,500 foreigners, in the first quarter of 2013 - up 6.8% on the same period last year.
Sa Pa remained the most popular destination during the three-month period, with 166,000 visitors.
The local tourism department attributed the surge in tourist numbers to the well-organised tourism promotion activities and the maintenance of traditional festivals across the province.
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