Asia specialist welcomes Laos reopening progress

Laos is poised to relax entry restrictions for fully vaccinated tourists in the new year.

The country’s tourism ministry is working with the private sector to reopen the country to international tourists, reportedly as early as January 1, 2022.

Areas set to open up to tourists have been designated as ‘green zones’, where between 70% and 80% of the population and 90% to 95% of service providers are vaccinated.

Green zones include cities of Vientiane, Vangvieng, and Luang Prabang (including Nong Khiaw), Xiengkhuang, Oudomxay (Pakbeng, Muang La), Khammouane (Thakhek, Kong Lor), and Champasak (4000 Islands, Wat Phou).

A form for ‘Green Pass Travel’ is due to be made available on the Laos e-visa website page or on arrival into Vientiane or Luang Prabang airports, the allocated entry and exit airports.

As well as a negative PCR test result for Covid-19 on arrival, it is understood visitors will then have to quarantine for 24 hours in their first hotel. However, quarantine requirements have yet to confirmed.

Inside Travel Group, which owns specialist tour operator InsideAsia, welcomed the easing of restrictions.

Partnerships manager James Mundy said: “There hasn’t been a lot of great news for the travel industry this December but this is very positive from Laos.

“Although there are still some limitations, initial reviews would suggest that limited restrictions would still allow for extensive exploration of this beautiful little country.”

He added: “InsideAsia is still looking to see how restrictions and limitations will affect the enjoyment of a trip to Laos or indeed our other destinations, if at all, but the move is a positive one and we cannot wait to start helping our agent partners plan get their clients to this incredible little country and region again.”

The move follows Thailand’s limited opening and Cambodia’s recent decision to allow vaccinated visitors into the country, while Malaysia is also aiming to reopen in January.

Picture credit: Guitar photographer / Shutterstock

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