Authorities in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai plan to expand and upgrade traditional markets in Bac Ha district to facilitate more trade by ethnic minority communities and attract more tourists.

Tran Huu Son, Director of the provincial Culture, Sports and Tourism Department, said locals should be able to offer more than agricultural produce at the markets, and the space should be big enough for them to display their wares and for tourists to watch trading activities.

Apart from agricultural produce, there should be a space in the market for cultural products like khen (bamboo flute) and they can attract more tourists and buyers if they perform with the instruments, he said.

The province also plans to arrange accommodations for tourists, who wish to stay there overnight and attend the early morning trading sessions, he said.

The plan will relocate the market sites to facilitate access by both locals and tourists without affecting the daily routines of ethnic minority communities, Son said.

"We will not let the traditional markets be commercialised and lose their identity," he assured.

Presently, tourists flock to just one big traditional market at the heart of Bac Ha town held every Sunday morning to get a glimpse into traditional customs and lifestyles.-VNA