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Lao travel: Better safe than sorry

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VIENTIANE, Laos 2 September 2022: As the end of the monsoon season draws near, more travel operators in Laos are applying to certify tour guides and drivers to cope with an anticipated influx of tourists in October.

Over 710 tour guides and 270 drivers have achieved LaoSafe certification so far. The certification teaches frontline travel staff the latest health, safety and cleanliness skills and knowledge.

Laos reopened its borders to international tourists on 9 May, dropping all testing and quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers. Since then, interest in the country grew, with a 50% increase in visitors by June. It’s an encouraging signal supported by an uptick in consumer demand for organised tours during the upcoming high season.

“LaoSafe is a great standard and important during the new normal. The LaoSafe training that our guides received helped them prioritise safety and cleanliness. As a tour operator, I want travellers to know that Laos has safety standards to travel with peace of mind and confidence. All operators in Laos should apply for LaoSafe certification,” said EXO Travel Laos managing director Duangmala Phommavong.

LaoSafe is a nationwide initiative designed to create a world-class health and hygiene system within the tourism and hospitality industry, implemented by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and approved by the Lao PDR’s Ministry of Health.

Sector-specific standards have been developed for accommodation, food and beverage, tour guides, and drivers to raise the benchmark of hygiene provision throughout the country and build international confidence in Laos as a safe tourist destination.

“As a DMC, it is important for us to be able to offer our customers a safe and quality experience. As Covid-19 has changed our world and our way of living, it was important for us to adapt as well. Thanks to the LaoSafe initiative, this has been possible,” says Asian Trails Laos product and Inbound officer Julie Beaufrère.

“This initiative allows us to reassure our customers concerned about safety and hygiene measures in Laos. We will continue to support by training our guides and drivers through LaoSafe,” she commented.

Tourist arrivals to Laos are unlikely to return to pre-Covid levels in 2023. However, removing entry restrictions gives the tourism and hospitality industry a welcome boost. As long as Covid-19 infections fluctuate worldwide, protecting against infection is still a concern for many, particularly when they travel from Europe on long-haul flights. LaoSafe certification goes a long way to restoring confidence.

The LaoSafe Programme is supported by the Skills for Tourism Project, co-financed by the Lao PDR government, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland. It is managed by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Laos and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.

For further information, visit www.laosafe.gov.la.

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