Fri, 19 Aug 2022

VIENTIANE, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The public and private sectors are making plans to reopen Laos to fully vaccinated tourists in 2022, and details regarding quarantine upon entry are still being debated.

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism outlined the plans at a consultation meeting held on Tuesday.

The ministry is following the guidelines given in a notice from the Prime Minister's Office issued on Nov. 5, aimed at encouraging authorities to prepare to welcome back tourists, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday.

The ministry will provide details concerning visitors' entry into Laos later when more information is available from the Ministry of Health.

Speaking at the meeting, Director General of the Department of Planning and International Cooperation Phengchanh Phengmeuang said the ministry is working with state and private entities to plan for the return of tourists in the near future and will ask the government to approve the plan submitted.

The ministry is preparing to reopen the country to vaccinated tourists under the "Lao Travel Green Zone" program.

The program will see Lao capital Vientiane, Vangvieng and Luang Prabang designated as "green zones" to ensure the safety of travelers and service providers.

Areas described as green zones must have a population that is 70-80 percent vaccinated, while 90-95 percent of service providers must also be vaccinated.

Under the Lao Travel Green Zone scheme, visitors can book tour packages on the condition that they have a certificate of entry, a vaccination certificate dated at least 14 days prior to entry, a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 done 72 hours or less before boarding a plane as well as on arrival in Laos.

They are also required to use an app to track possible exposure to COVID-19 during their stay in Laos.

Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone said last month that the government will invite Lao and foreign tourists who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to come to Laos, with a particular focus on visitors from China and South Korea.

It is hoped that the Lao Thiao Lao (Lao Visit Laos) campaign will attract at least 1.9 million Lao visitors and more than 1 million foreign visitors in 2022.

As of Wednesday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Laos reached 83,291 with 219 deaths.

Laos reported its first two confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 23 last year.

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