AGL 8.30 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-0.36%)
ANL 10.95 Increased By ▲ 0.25 (2.34%)
AVN 79.70 Increased By ▲ 1.51 (1.93%)
BOP 5.75 Increased By ▲ 0.18 (3.23%)
CNERGY 5.64 Increased By ▲ 0.26 (4.83%)
EFERT 79.36 Increased By ▲ 0.71 (0.9%)
EPCL 67.48 Decreased By ▼ -0.31 (-0.46%)
FCCL 14.89 Increased By ▲ 0.39 (2.69%)
FFL 6.70 Increased By ▲ 0.10 (1.52%)
FLYNG 7.16 Increased By ▲ 0.13 (1.85%)
GGGL 11.60 Increased By ▲ 0.26 (2.29%)
GGL 17.51 Increased By ▲ 0.27 (1.57%)
GTECH 8.35 Increased By ▲ 0.05 (0.6%)
HUMNL 7.17 Increased By ▲ 0.11 (1.56%)
KEL 3.14 Increased By ▲ 0.06 (1.95%)
LOTCHEM 35.20 Increased By ▲ 2.33 (7.09%)
MLCF 28.35 Increased By ▲ 0.05 (0.18%)
OGDC 87.70 Increased By ▲ 3.15 (3.73%)
PAEL 16.63 Increased By ▲ 0.18 (1.09%)
PIBTL 6.05 Increased By ▲ 0.20 (3.42%)
PRL 19.46 Increased By ▲ 1.34 (7.4%)
SILK 1.14 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
TELE 11.41 Increased By ▲ 0.31 (2.79%)
TPL 9.20 Increased By ▲ 0.20 (2.22%)
TPLP 20.25 Increased By ▲ 0.37 (1.86%)
TREET 27.10 Increased By ▲ 0.48 (1.8%)
TRG 96.20 Increased By ▲ 1.70 (1.8%)
UNITY 20.85 Increased By ▲ 0.48 (2.36%)
WAVES 13.90 Increased By ▲ 0.27 (1.98%)
WTL 1.34 Increased By ▲ 0.03 (2.29%)
BR100 4,275 Increased By 67 (1.59%)
BR30 15,794 Increased By 348.3 (2.26%)
KSE100 42,872 Increased By 628.4 (1.49%)
KSE30 16,219 Increased By 247.6 (1.55%)

BANGKOK: Laos has announced plans to partially re-open to foreign travellers in the new year, throwing a lifeline to the tourism industry after borders were sealed for more than 18 months to keep out Covid.

Fully vaccinated visitors on pre-booked tours will be able to enter from January 1 and visit the capital Vientiane, eco-tourism hotspot Vang Vieng and UNESCO World Heritage-listed Luang Prabang, state media reported Friday.

Further destinations will be opened up in April and July as vaccination rates in Laos increase.

But entry will only be available to tourists from 17 nations, mostly Southeast Asian and European countries as well as China, the United States, Australia and Canada.

All visitors will also need to test negative for Covid before arriving.

The reclusive communist nation this month opened a $6 billion Beijing-built railway that connects its capital to the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming.

Health authorities are now rushing to deliver Covid booster shots to people living in tourist spots along the train line in anticipation of an influx of travellers.

Laos was receiving about 4.7 million foreign tourists each year before the pandemic.

But Covid led to an 80 percent downturn in international visitor numbers in 2020, with the economy in the doldrums despite very few coronavirus cases in Laos in the early stages of the pandemic.

Economic growth declined to 0.4 percent in 2020, the lowest in three decades, according to the World Bank.

Hopes for a rebound in 2021 were dashed after infection numbers skyrocketed in recent months.

Above Laos Ballooning Adventures, based in Vang Vieng, said it used to run two hot-air balloon flights a day during the high season.

But these days the small business is lucky to receive a single booking even at the weekend, manager La Noy told AFP.

Alex Tran, owner of the Camellia Hotel in Vang Vieng, said revenue was down 95 percent because of the border closures.

“Many hotels in Vang Vieng are empty and have closed temporarily for around two years because there are no tourists,” he told AFP.

There were not enough domestic travellers to sustain the sector, he added.

“After New Year, things are hoped to be better,” Tran said.

Comments

Comments are closed.