LA PAZ, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- While much of the world's attention is focused on Rio de Janeiro in Brazil during the Carnival season, smaller parties have got into high gear across the continent.
The Carnival of Oruro, part of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, has been a real success and a strong showcase for Bolivian culture, the Bolivian Minister of Culture and Tourism Wilma Alanoca said Sunday in a press conference.
According to government data, around half a million tourists visited the carnival on Saturday, which, Alanoca said, exceeded their estimate.
The minister vowed to work hard to consolidate the festivity as a global attraction. She added that they would improve Oruro's infrastructure and launch a campaign in May to promote the carnival worldwide.
Writing on Twitter on Sunday after participating in the opening ceremony in Oruro on Saturday, Bolivian President Evo Morales said the carnival was "unbeatable and unrivalled."
To the north, on Sunday, Venezuela got its own festivities underway with the traditional Carnival of El Callao held in the southern state of Bolivar. The carnival was approved by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity last December.
At a ceremony to receive UNESCO's certificate before the official start of the carnival, Venezuelan Tourism Minister Marleny Contreras said: "We will continue accompanying and strengthening all our traditions."
El Callao has held carnivals for over 100 years, with the "madams" being its highlight, as women of all ages put on colorful clothes, accessories and turbans to represent ladies of the 19th century.
The Carnival of El Callao, the oldest in Venezuela, is the country's fifth tradition on the UNESCO list.