Wed, 08 Dec 2021

VIENTIANE, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism has launched the Lao Tourism Recovery Roadmap for 2021-2025, aiming to support the recovery of the tourism sector in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak by promoting domestic travel.

The initiative is supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), local daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday.

Speaking at the launch in the capital Vientiane last Thursday, Lao Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Ounthuang Khaophanh, said the scheme will introduce measures to address critical issues in the tourism sector and will be very important for the recovery of tourism in Laos.

The roadmap covered three main policy options, namely to support and promote domestic tourism; establish travel bubbles with countries with low risks; and the greening of tourism for environmental friendliness and for better long-term recovery.

The roadmap contains three recovery themes, including protecting jobs and intervention to revive the tourism sector; building confidence and strengthening the sector; and improving, expanding and diversifying tourism products, services and markets.

Also speaking at the launch ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative Ricarda Rieger said "Green and sustainable tourism has great potential for Laos in post-COVID-19 recovery."

With its rich natural resources and biodiversity, Laos can offer an opportunity to promote nature-based tourism for sustainable and inclusive growth which will lead to green jobs and livelihood opportunities, a green recovery, and green growth, Rieger said.

"With the current situation on battling the high level of daily COVID-19 cases, health safety for all public and private sectors and travelers is imperative, should there be a consideration to reopen or travel bubble in the near future," she added.

In 2020, there was a major decrease in tourist traffic of 75 percent, resulting in the loss of 80 percent of overall tourism revenue because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, which had an adverse impact on the economy and consequently people's livelihoods on a large scale.

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