Laos reopened its international borders for all tourists and visitors on Monday, May 9 — more than two years after the country imposed strict travel restrictions in an attempt to tackle the pandemic and reduce the spread of the virus.

Late last week, on Saturday, the head of the country‘s government agency for controlling COVID-19, Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, announced the reopening date — the last step in their three-phase plan, according to reports.

Laos reopens for tourists — what we know

Chanthavongsa stated that for those who wish to enter the country, vaccination certificates or COVID-19 virus tests will be needed, whether they are Lao citizens or international travellers. According to ABC News, these rules apply to passengers above 12, who, without the possession of vaccination certificates, need to show a negative ATK test taken within 48 hours of departure.

What’s more, in the three-phased opening plan, Laos has also eased restrictions at entertainment venues such as karaoke parlours, as long as they comply with the COVID-19 regulations.

Laos is among the latest countries to reopen for visitors, albeit with the vaccination and testing mandates in place. The nation was host to about 4.79 million foreign visitors in 2019, which was before the pandemic gripped the world. The number drastically fell in 2020, before borders shut and the world went into lockdowns, media reports state.

According to reports, state-controlled Vientiane Times newspaper’s website quoted Deputy Health Minister Snong Thongsna as saying that the decision to reopen international borders has been based on the falling COVID-19 cases in Laos as well as the rest of the world, with the average new infections declining to less than 200 now in the nation.

Among the poorest Asian countries, Laos is home to some stunning natural beauty and cultural sites, which helps it attract visitors, and the reopening of borders will help in the same.

Hero and Featured Image: Courtesy of Molydar SOUAMA/Unsplash

This story first appeared on Travel + Leisure India

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