Source: Vientiane Times
The Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday officially set January 1 as the start of the resumption of tourism in Laos and approved an action plan on the designation of green travel zones where tourists will be protected against Covid-19.
The PM’s Office also approved an action plan for the arrival of visitors and authorised the formation of a committee to prepare for the reopening of Laos to tourists.
The full details will be reported at an extraordinary government meeting scheduled for the end of this month.
The plans will see tourism kickstarted in three phases, with Phase 1 to begin on January 1, Phase 2 on April 1, and Phase 3 on July 1.
Phases 2 and 3 have been approved by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, but are waiting approval by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Speaking at a meeting of the committee in charge of the scheme on Wednesday, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mrs SuanesavanhVingaket, said the designated green travel zones will be Vientiane and the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Champassak, Khammuan, Xieng Khuang, Oudomxay and Xayaboury.
These areas are now preparing for the return of visitors and hospitality staff are undergoing training through the LaoSafe programme and restoring tourist attractions ahead of visitors’ arrival, Ms Suansavanh said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Heath will arrange for people living in these areas and places through which the Laos-China railway passes to have a booster Covid-19 vaccination, to ensure safe travel.
The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism is also in talks with authorities in provinces that have railway stations, namely Luang Prabang, Luang Namtha, Vientiane and Oudomxay, about the development of activities and tourism products to attract visitors travelling by rail, and to promote the Lao Thaio Laos (Lao Visit Laos) campaign.
Areas classified as green travel zones must have a population that is 70-80 percent vaccinated, while 90-95 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 Covid-19 vaccination certificate.
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sonexay Siphandone said last month the government will invite Lao and foreign tourists who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to come to Laos, with a particular focus on visitors from China and the Republic of Korea.
It is hoped that the Lao Thiao Lao campaign will attract at least 1.9 million Lao visitors and more than 1 million foreign visitors in 2022.