Thousands of Japanese swooped in on the Lao Festival held in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, from May 26 to 29. The Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism organisd the event to promote Visit Laos Year and raise the profile of Laos.
Minister Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara opened the event on May 26 together with senior officials from Japan.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Prof. Dr Bosengkham said “This festival is not only taking place to promote Visit Laos Year 2018. It has been held annually and was first organised in 2007. This event is an important festival in strengthening the bonds of friendship between Laos and Japan. It also serves to enhance understanding of both countries’ peoples through cultural performances.”
The festival included stage shows, a tourism exhibition, and stalls selling Lao food and souvenirs.
The ministry hopes the festival will encourage more people in Japan to visit Laos, with the government setting a target of 5 million foreign tourists and tourism revenue of more than US$900 million this year.
According to a 2017 report from the ministry, more than 32,000 Japanese visited Laos in 2017, with the country ranking seventh in terms of tourist numbers.
The ministry organised a similar festival in Thailand in January, in the city of Chiang Mai. The event, titled “Lao Night”, was attended by some 500 representatives of Asean member countries and Asean partners.
The festival highlighted Laos’ culture, nature and history through performances and an audiovisual presentation.
Guests were treated to a visual tour of the country’s landmarks via a large LED screen while also gaining cultural insight through over 30 performances and circus acts.
In September, the ministry will also host “Lao Night” in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Source: Vientiane Times