Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Coronavirus Resource Page (last updated December 19)

Our hearts go out to you amid the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It cannot be overstated how difficult this time is for the global community, for the industry that is grinding to a halt, for your clients, for your companies, and for each of us as individuals. We will look back upon this period as a defining time for our era. The travel industry is experiencing the greatest reduction in business in our lifetimes.

Please see specific information about the member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion below: Cambodia. PR China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam.  

To learn about government policies to provide aid and assistance to businesses in the respective countries, please click HERE.

View the COVID-19 Travel Situation infographics in the Mekong Region HERE

Travel around the world continues to be affected by the novel corona virus.

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office would like to inform its partners on the latest developments around COVID-19. We are constantly gathering updates on the measures taken by the different destination countries to stop the spreading of COVID-19.

The outbreak of the corona virus has hit some destinations particularly hard, as a stark decline in Chinese Outbound tourists, and a general fear of traveling, especially to some destinations in Asia. While nobody can predict when things turn back to normal, or if we need to adapt to a new reality in travel, destinations can do a few things during this time, instead of solely focusing on declining numbers and fear:

Diversify Source Markets: We have seen many destinations have relied dangerously on the Chinese market. And when it comes to the Chinese market, many destinations have focused on easy to capture, but less profitable mass tour groups, that showed nice growth numbers. Diversifying should be one of the biggest lessons from the coronavirus, and even within China, there are multiple market segments that drive more yield and sustainability. Develop a robust Feeder Market Channel Strategy vs the usual market segmentation channel strategy. Focus on your short-haul feeder-markets and especially on your drive-in feeder markets. Why? People will continue to travel, especially on short-haul and shorter stay trips.

Develop Sustainability Strategies and Programs: Now is also a good time to step back and look at developing more robust and scalable digital platforms, reduce single-use plastic and food waste, and revamp your product and distribution strategies. Implementing sustainability strategies sometimes is not always top priority, especially when business is good and the hectic of the day to day operations makes implementation challenging. Many of these programs can result in financial benefits in the long-term, in addition to saving the planet.

Leverage Industry Association and Partnerships: For destinations in the Mekong Region, taking advantage of the free or low-cost programs of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. Also, organizations like the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has various services in the region, as well as other travel industry associations. This is a way to collaborate as judging from the past SARS outbreak, individual destination campaigns are unlikely to be very effective with long-haul travelers, even if the destinations are virus-free. North American and European travelers will be hesitant to return to Asia until it is completely safe. Now is the time to collaborate to work together in restoring confidence and rebuilding business. This cannot be done alone in silos but has to be done in partnership as a united industry.

Assess risks and prepare solutions to potential challenges in advance. Destinations have to assess potential risks and prepare for potential emergency cases in advance. This does not only apply for cases such as COVID-19 or natural disasters. It can also be responses to over-crowding of destinations or environmental emergencies. Destinations have to take long-term look and opportunities and challenges and prepare in advance. We are working with destinations to support them in their strategies and align them throughout the region.

As many destinations have relied on the Chinese outbound market, the effect has resulted in a drastic decline in tourism numbers.

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Please see below for updates about travel requirements in each of our six GMS member countries:

Source: Focus Asia, Forwardkeys, Dragon Trail, MTCO, National Tourism Department

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