VIENTIANE, Nov 2 (Xinhua): The Lao government will continue with a tourism program in 2022 to invite Lao and foreign tourists who have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, especially from China and South Korea, to explore the country.
It is hoped that the programme -- Lao Thiao Lao, or Lao Visit Laos will attract at least 1.9 million domestic visitors and more than 1 million foreign visitors in 2022, local daily Vientiane Times on Tuesday quoted Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone as saying at the National Assembly on Monday.
If the tourism initiative goes ahead, it is expected that restaurant and accommodation-related business would increase by 1.8 percent, he said.
The campaign was launched in 2020 to encourage Lao citizens to travel within the country.
In the first six months of that year at least 615,000 Lao nationals made trips, an increase of 3.9 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
However, the Covid-19 outbreak in 2021 meant that most hotels, guesthouses, tour companies, and the nation's many tourist attractions had to close.
In addition, many major events were cancelled or postponed such as the Lao New Year festival, the planned celebration of Hai Hin (Plain of Jars) being listing as a world heritage site, and the National Games in northern Laos' Xieng Khuang province.
Travel restrictions meant that foreign tourists could not come to Laos, but there are now hopes that a resurgence of tourism activities will bring more visitors to the country.
As of Tuesday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Laos reached 41,829 with 70 deaths.
Laos reported its first two confirmed Covid-19 cases on March 23 last year. - Xinhua