The government of Laos has instructed the tourism ministry to coordinate with localities around the country to prepare for the reopening of tourism under “new normal” conditions.
The announcement was made during the government’s July monthly meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh and attended by cabinet members.
The Prime Minister instructed relevant sectors to prepare for the opening of the Laos-China Railway in December.
At the same time, the PM told the transport and tourism ministries to work together to “reopen tourism under the new normal as appropriate in each locality and in accordance with the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The news brings hope to many in the tourism industry, which all but ground to a halt as the second wave of Covid-19 spread across the nation during the Lao New Year holiday in April.
With every province under lockdown by May, airlines were grounded and bus stations closed, leaving the tour operators without hope, just as the Lao Thiao Lao domestic tourism campaign had begun making headway.
However, the government’s successful vaccination campaign has seen some 14 percent of the population receive a Covid-19 vaccination, with a plan to reach 50% of the population by year’s end.
Continued relaxation of lockdown measures has allowed interprovincial travel to resume, with airlines and bus companies adhering to strict Covid-19 guidelines for passengers.
Meanwhile, Vientiane Capital has seen a twelve-day streak without community spread.
With the Laos-China Railway due to open in December, conditions could be ripe for the careful and responsible reopening of tourism in Laos in 2022.