Sapa beckons tourists after flash floods
Local and international travelers are returning to the popular town of Sapa in Lao Cai Province, one week after flash floods devastated the northwestern mountainous province, said a local tourism official.
Pham Tien Dung, deputy head of the culture and information division of Sapa District, told the Daily on Wednesday that tourists started to return to the town last weekend. The number of arrivals is around 30% to 40% compared to the average figure of some 3,000 visitors every weekend.
"Few tourists stayed back during one week of the floods, but since last weekend, the visitors have been arriving, most of them foreigners," he said.
Hundreds of tourists were stranded in Lao Cai Province when flash-floods hit the upland locality earlier this month. Tour operators then managed to move travelers to safety, including by helicopters.
Dung said that flash floods have damaged a railway link between Hanoi and Lao Cai, and key road transport links to the town, but many attractions and facilities in the tourist parks remain intact after the floods. He expected the number of tourists to be back to normal soon.
"We expect the number of tourists to recover quickly because the railway, and key road transport links have been re-established and the festive season for domestic travelers on the National Day (September 2) is approaching," he said.
To attract more guests to come, the division is calling on hotels, restaurants, and tour operators to launch promotions. The division has also decided to organize two festivals, comprising a night festival with flower garlands and colored lanterns, and the Hang Pho temple festival to woo tourists back to Sapa Vietnam.
"We've planned to organize these festivals on September 20 but we've changed the date to September 13 to bring more funs for tourists there and call others to come in," Dung said.
Lao Cai has received nearly 400,000 local and foreign visitors in the January-July period, up 9.9% year-on-year, and almost all visitors have visited Sapa Town. Of them, nearly 230,000 visitors were foreigners.
The province earned total tourism revenue of nearly VND257 billion in the period, up 16% year-on-year.
(Source: SGT, URL:http://english.vietnamnet.vn/travel/2008/08/800084/)
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