The government is preparing Covid control measures to be put into practice when the country reopens to tourists on January 1, as well as readying designated travel zones for visitors.
As part of these plans, Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Mr Ounthuang Khaophanh, together with senior officials from the ministries of Public Security and Health and other entities, on Thursday went to Wattay International Airport to explain to ground staff the procedures to be followed in screening arrivals for Covid-19.
The first foreign visitors are expected to arrive in Laos on Saturday.
Around the country, local residents are also preparing for the return of visitors, whose excursions will initially be confined to Vientiane, Luang Prabang province and Vangvieng district in Vientiane province.
These three locations have been designated as green travel zones and will accept visitors from January 1 until March 30 under the first phase of a three-stage tourism resumption programme.
Tourism-related businesses will also be responsible for receiving and screening guests at hotels. All visitors must be fully vaccinated and will again be tested for Covid upon arrival in Laos.
Mr Ounthuang said virus control measures will be strict because the goal is to ensure that visitors and local communities remain virus-free.
The government is opening up Laos to tourists from 17 countries.
Nationals of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Japan, France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, the USA, Canada and Australia will be allowed to enter Laos on tourist visas.
Several tourist attractions in green travel zones are now ready to receive visitors under the “new normal” conditions introduced because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
In Vangvieng district, local authorities have improved the standard of accommodation and services at restaurants and have prepared special facilities for visitors.
Many hotels and guesthouses are offering special discounts over the New Year, hoping to attract a large number of visitors.
Travel destinations are limited because of the difficulties involved in opening up the whole country while Covid-19 control measures remain in force.