Before the pandemic, Laos was starting to expand its nascent tourism industry with a surge in arrivals from China and strong visitation from Thailand and Vietnam. Outbound tourism was also booming, but while the pandemic halted those upward curves, Laos has only recorded a total of 39 (yes, thirty-nine!) cases of COVID-19. So what’s it been like to live and work in the tourism sector in a genuinely COVID-safe country?
This week, Gary and Hannah chat with Jason Rolan, editor-in-chief of Laos Airlines’ in-flight magazine, senior partner at RDK Group, and former country manager for EXO travel, Khiri Group and Buffalo Tours.
In this fascinating chat from KL to Vientiane, Jason discusses his involvement in a government campaign to boost domestic trip demand, and his own travels around a tourist-free country. Looking ahead, we analyse the potential impact of the Chinese-built Vientiane-Vang Vieng Highway and the China-Laos High-Speed Railway, which is set to open in late 2021. We also touch on the future of eco-tourism and the challenges ahead for the Laos tourism sector in 2021.