Laos mulls easier immigration clearance on China-Laos Railway

An electric multiple unit (EMU) train of the China-Laos Railway arrives at Yuxi Railway Station in Yuxi, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Dec. 3, 2021. Photo: Xinhua/Hu Chao

VIENTIANE -- Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone has emphasized an urgent need to set up immigration booths at stations on the China-Laos Railway to facilitate cross-border travelers.

Chairing an extraordinary meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday and Thursday, the prime minister instructed the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to work with the Laos-China Railway (LCRC) to designate areas inside stations where immigration booths could be installed.

The instruction comes amid increasing demand for rail travel, especially with the arrival of more tourists, the Lao National Radio reported on Thursday.

The Lao government places great importance on passenger and freight rail services, hoping that the railway will bolster efforts to alleviate ongoing financial and economic difficulties driven by high levels of public debt.

When visiting the Vientiane station of the cross-border railway in the capital on Feb. 27, Prime Minister Sonexay has asked the LCRC to improve facilities and other services offered by the railway to get ready to embrace an influx of tourists.

On the busiest days, the number of people traveling on the China-Laos Railway's Lao section exceeds 10,000, indicating a strong boost for the rebound of tourism and the economy, according to the report.

The China-Laos Railway, launched in December 2021, connects Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan province, with the Lao capital Vientiane.

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