In an effort to promote tourism during the Visit Laos Year 2018, the Lao government will provide VISA exemptions for citizens of four Scandinavian countries: Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The visa waiver will take effect from 1 January and will cease at the end of December.
Travelers from the four countries wishing to visit Laos will be allowed a 15-day temporary stay, says MOFA (Foreign Affairs Ministry). The rationale for the initiative was based on the observation that an increasing number of Finnish, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian visitors had come to Laos in 2016, compared to the year before, while there had been an overall 10% decrease in the total number of tourists.
In total, it was estimated that over 17,000 people from the Scandinavian countries travelled to Laos in 2016, an increase from the 16,468 visitors who came to Laos in 2015.
In addition to the one-year visa exemption for citizens of Scandinavian countries, Laos has entered into bilateral visa exemption agreements (long-term) for ordinary passport holders from 11 countries, namely the other nine ASEAN countries, Mongolia and most recently, Russia.
Laos has also extended unilateral visa exemptions (long-term) to nationals from Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
On a side note, has anyone ever wondered which countries Lao nationals can visit without visas?