Laos is among 20 countries China has authorized for the resumption of outbound group tours, according to its Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The ministry stated in a notice on its website on Friday that a pilot program will take effect on 6 February allowing travel agencies to open outbound group travel for Chinese citizens to 20 countries.
The list of countries authorized for group tours includes Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Fiji, Cuba, and Argentina.
According to the notice, travel agencies will also be permitted to offer visitors airline and hotel packages beginning at the same time.
The decision was made at the request of the State Council’s Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the country’s highest COVID-19 response taskforce, and was based on COVID-19 control measures and socioeconomic progress, according to the ministry’s statement.
The notice requests that local authorities recognize the trial program’s significance in revitalizing the country’s tourism economy and how they must “take good care” of tourists.
It further states that authorities must instruct travel operators to strictly adhere to official COVID-19 procedures both at home and abroad. Tourists will be urged to ensure that they are not infected with the highly contagious disease before boarding flights, pay attention to their own safety and health while traveling, follow local COVID-19 rules, and to comply with epidemic prevention requirements after returning to their hometowns.
China’s National Health Commission said on 26 December that China would drop the quarantine requirement for international arrivals beginning 8 January.
In 2019, Chinese people made 155 million outbound trips, according to data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.