When the COVID-19 virus was first identified in China and then began spreading around the world, Laos was largely spared from the worst of the pandemic initially. As of late April 2021, there were still only a few hundred cases reported total, with zero deaths. But the impact of COVID has nonetheless been great - everything has changed, many people have lost their jobs, and many restaurants, shops and hotels remain closed.
Without any tourism going on in the country, I've been working at my farm growing vegetables, avocados and dragon fruit. Recently I have begun working for a company called Loca, which is similar to Uber. I’ve been working as a driver in the capital city of Vientiane and the surrounding areas, driving passengers around the city and other provinces as needed. It’s an easy job and I can choose my own hours.
The situation on the ground in Laos right now is challenging, as the number of COVID cases began increasing in the spring, leading to a
government-imposed lockdown of Vientiane for a couple of weeks in late April and early May. This has made me doubtful that Laos will open to tourism before the end of this year unless we see dramatic improvements.
The good news is that Laos has begun its vaccination campaign, and hopefully everyone will get vaccinated this year. I still love working in the tourism industry and I am looking forward to welcoming travelers back to my beautiful country once again.
By Onkeo Phontasin
Owner of Journeys Within Laos
Journeys Within Laos is the destination management company that Kaanect Travel uses when building guest itineraries in Laos.