Leisure activities on the Nam Xong river to be reopened

Leisure activities on the Nam Xong river in the tourist hotspot of Vangvieng district in Vientiane province have reopened after they were suspended earlier this month due to rising river levels.

Head of the Vangvieng district Information, Culture and Tourism Office, Mr Bounpanh Phommavong, told Vientiane Times the district reopened services for visitors last week after water levels receded following recent flooding.

Foreign tourists enjoy kayaking on the XongRiver during Pimai Lao (Lao New Year) in April. File photo

“Now visitors can enjoy kayaking, tubing and jumping in the river, but we will not allow people who drink alcohol to enter the river. We are very strict on this matter to avoid any accidents,” he said.

“To avoid accidents on the water, our authorities will make checks along the river, while operators should have lifejackets for people who want to go kayaking or tubing,” Mr Bounpanh added.

New regulations state that the operators of bars and restaurants should not allow people to enter the river if they appear to be intoxicated.

Mr Bounpanh said people who rent out kayaks and inner tubes will employ a lifeguard to patrol the riverbank and carry a line they can throw to anyone who gets into difficulties in the water. Officials will also patrol the riverbank in hazardous areas to help people navigate the river in safety

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“So far this rainy season we have not had any reports of accidents on the river or involving any other adventure activity. In the past, we received reports of accidents where tourists were injured or died while rock climbing, caving or swimming in the river.”

He explained that the department, in cooperation with other responsible sectors, also worked to monitor and manage entertainment venues in Vangvieng to ensure order and safety

“The number of tourist arrivals in the district in the first nine months of this fiscal year reached 95,755. This exceeds the figures for the same period last year, when 117,000 visitors were recorded over the whole 12 months.”

“We expect to have about 120,000 visitors in 2013 because many people like to come towards the end of the year,” he said.

Mr Bounpanh said the report on visitor numbers for the nine-month period revealed that Koreans accounted for the largest number, followed by the Chinese and Japanese. About 50 percent of arrivals were from Asia, 40 percent from Europe and 10 percent from other places.

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