Riding elephants is a popular tourist pastime in Central Highland provinces.
Accordingly, the event, held in Lam Dong and other provinces in the region throughout next year beginning December 27 this year, will have "High Mountains and Thick Forests of the Central Highlands" as its main theme, said Nguyen Van Huong, director of the province's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
He was speaking at a meeting held in Da Lat on Friday between representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the organisers of the national tourism year.
The tourism year will comprise nine programmes and 17 events, 13 of which will take place in Da Lat, the capital city of Lam Dong, and four others in Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces.
Major events of the National Tourism Year 2014 will include the Cultural Week to Celebrate the UNESCO Viet Nam Heritage Festival, a festival of brocade arts, a Central Highlands fashion show, a festival of Central Highlands wooden statues; and an international gong festival.
A festival marking the 120th founding anniversary of Da Lat City and the Fifth Da Lat Flower Festival will also be held to promote tourism in Lam Dong province, Huong said.
A series of sporting events including an elephant race, a boat race, and several folk games will also be held during the year.
A Central Highlands Ethnic Minority Food Festival will be the gastronomic highlight of National Tourism Year 2014.
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 Viet Nam and Southeast Asia, such as the Indochinese tiger, the gaur, the wild Asian water buffalo and the Asian elephant.
Its rich and unique natural beauty and cultural diversity make it an ideal site for tourism development.
Hoang Thi Diep, Deputy Director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, said the National Tourism Year 2014 aims to encourage localities in the region to develop tourism as a way to boost the economy and improve the living standards of local residents.
Speaking at the Friday meeting, Hoang Tuan Anh, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said National Tourism Year 2014 will be an international event that introduces images of the natural landscape and people of Viet Nam's Central Highlands in general and Lam Dong - Da Lat in particular, to local and international friends.
Anh asked organisers of the event as well as Lam Dong authorities to enhance tourism management and stop fraud and overcharging for products and services provided to tourists, making Da Lat City and Lam Dong Province a safe and attractive destination in 2014 and the years to come.