Source: Vientiane Times
Despite the new threat posed by the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the government is opening up Laos to tourists from 17 countries, who will be able to visit designated “green travel zones” in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Vangvieng district, Vientiane province, from January 1 to March 30.
Travel destinations will be limited because of the difficulties involved in opening up the whole of the country while Covid control measures are in place.
Nationals of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Japan, France, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, USA, Canada and Australia will be allowed to enter Laos.
Speaking at a press conference, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Mrs Suanesavanh Vignaket said visitors must be part of a package tour arranged by specific travel agents authorised to operate in the selected areas.
Visitors will not be allowed to enter Laos unless they have made a booking with a tour operator and will be denied entry by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.
All arrivals must have had two doses of a Covid vaccine less than 14 days prior to travel and must have purchased life insurance. They must also have had a negative RT-PCR test result less than 72 hours before entering Laos.
Upon arrival, visitors must take a Covid test at a border crossing or other point of entry and quarantine in a designated hotel for 24 hours while awaiting the test results. If the test is negative, visitors can proceed to a green travel zone. Prior to arrival, visitors must download the LaoStaySafe app to register and provide proof of double Covid vaccination and the negative RT-PCR Covid test result.
Visitors must also purchase health insurance that covers them for medical expenses amounting to a minimum of US$50,000.
The second phase of the reintroduction of tourism will see green travel zones opening up from April 1 to June 30 in Vientiane and the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Xayaboury, Xieng Khuang, Khammuan, Savannakhet and Champassak.
The third phase will begin on July 1, when visitors will be able to travel to all provinces in Laos, according to the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Areas classified as green travel zones must have a population that is 70-80 percent vaccinated against Covid-19, while 95 percent of service providers must also be vaccinated.
For travel in green zones, tourists must book hotels that have been approved by LaoSafe as well as show a vaccination certificate.
It is hoped that the Lao Thiao Lao (Lao Visit Laos) campaign will attract at least 1.9 million Lao visitors and more than 1 million foreign visitors in 2022.