The mountains and forests of the Central Highlands will come into sharp focus at the 2014 National Tourism Year, which has been recently launched by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Themed “ High Mountains and Thick Forests of the Central Highlands”, the tourism year will be held in Lam Dong and other provinces in the region throughout next year beginning December 27 this year.

It will comprise 45 events, including 13 hosted by the ministry, 17 by Lam Dong and 15 others by Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces.

Major events during the year will include the first Vietnam-ASEAN Heritage Festival, a festival marking the 120 th founding anniversary of Da Lat, the capital city of Lam Dong , the fifth Da Lat Flower Festival and a ceremony to launch the 2014 Central Highlands - Da Lat National Tourism Year.

A festival of brocade arts, a Central Highlands fashion show, a festival of regional wooden statues, and an international gong festival will be held during the year.

There will be a host of sporting events, including an elephant race, a boat race, and several folk games.

A Central Highlands Ethnic Minority Food Festival will be the gastronomic highlight of the year.

The Central Highlands has been recognised as a land of mysterious mountains and forests with a significant population of ethnic minorities whose varied customs and lifestyles are an anthropologist’s delight.

The region is also home to some of the most endangered species in Vietnam and Southeast Asia such as the Indochinese tiger, gaur, wild Asia water buffalo and Asia elephant.

Its rich and unique natural beauty and cultural diversity make it an ideal site for tourism development.

Meanwhile, the People’s Committee of the central coastal province of Ninh Thuan has approved a plan to host the 2013 Raglai Cultural Festival scheduled for August 28-31.

The event is expected to draw the participation of over 500 Raglai artisans and artists from Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa and Lam Dong provinces. It will feature a show of Raglai traditional dress, a talk show and exhibition on Raglai culture and art performances.-VNA