31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Oct 27, 2021 / 22:31

Laos prioritizes reopening to Vietnamese travelers

Laos will reopen inbound tourism as soon as 50% of the country’s population is vaccinated.

Visitors from neighboring countries, including Vietnam, China, and other ASEAN members will be given priority to travel as soon as Laos opens up for inbound tourism.

Located near the northern tip of the peninsula formed by the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers, Wat Xieng Thong is Luang Prabang’s most magnificent temple. Photo: Vietravel.com

Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism of Laos Ounthuang Khaophan made the announcement at a press conference on restarting Lao international tourism held on October 27.

According to Ounthuang, expanding the coverage of the Covid-19 vaccine to the entire population is the country’s top priority.

Laos is expected to vaccinate at least 50% of the population by year-end. However, as of October 23, only 43.55% of the Lao population had been immunized with the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine while 37.24% had been fully vaccinated.

This may be the reason why this Southeast Asian country has not set a date yet to welcome international tourists while many countries in the region have planned to open their borders.

As soon as 50% of the country’s population is vaccinated, Laos would relaunch inbound tourism, in which, travelers from Vietnam, China, and ASEAN countries would have the highest priority, followed by tourists from other countries that are considered to be ‘safe’ from the coronavirus.

Ounthuang also said that the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of Laos is now petitioning the Government to allow fully vaccinated Korean golf tourists to visit Vientiane by the end of this year.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic flared up in 2020, Laos has imposed strict border controls and travel restrictions to slow the spread of the disease.

However, the severe closure has been seriously damaging the nation’s tourism industry and economy.

According to the Vientiane Times, Laos welcomed 4.58 million international visitors in 2019, representing a growth of nine percent over 2018.