Source: Vientiane Times
More than 1,200 people passed through the Laos-China border at the Boten-Mohan international border crossing during the first two days after China reopened its border with Laos on Sunday, Lao authorities said.
But the Chinese side is not yet permitting entry by people with tourist visas.
A source at the Boten International Border Checkpoint said the full re-opening of the border, when holders of tourist visas can also enter China, is expected to resume after the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.
The Chinese New Year holiday, or Spring Festival, runs from January 21 to 27.
“According to unofficial talks between both sides, service for tourist visa holders is expected after Chinese New Year,” the source said.
Holders of other types of visa and border pass, including visas for business, visit and study purposes, as well as for diplomatic and official purposes, have crossed the border since Sunday.
The Lao government officially reopened all its international border crossings to foreign travellers on May 9 last year.
More than 400 people, mostly Chinese nationals, entered Laos on Sunday and Monday, an official in charge of immigration affairs at the border crossing, who asked not to be named, said.
Meanwhile, more than 800 people, mostly Chinese business operators and workers, including those stranded in Laos during the lockdown, returned home including for the Chinese New Year celebrations.
“Cross border travel is now convenient. There is no [Covid] check requirement, even on the Chinese side,” the official said.
He added that not only Lao and Chinese nationals can now cross the border, but also people from a third country.
China has eased Covid-19 control measures after almost three years of travel restrictions. The move has sparked hope in many countries that Chinese tourists will once again return and help revitalise tourism industries and economies that have been paralysed by the pandemic.
The search volume for international flight tickets has surged in China after the country’s travel restrictions eased on January 8, the China Daily reported recently, citing the news website chinanews.com.
The international flight ticket search volume increased sevenfold within 15 minutes after the new Covid-19 management measures were announced, with the most popular destinations being Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
On Monday, three Thai ministers welcomed the first large group of 269 Chinese tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand’s The Nation reported.