Vietnam takes cautious strides to reopen tourism

Safety is a prerequisite to restarting the tourism industry in the new normal.


Vietnam is taking cautious strides to make preparations to accommodate international tourists, with a focus on restoring tourism activities in low-risk areas or “green zones”, proceeding to connecting safe destinations and expanding operations nationwide in the new normalcy.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet stated in an online meeting with the sector’s executives and regulators from 25 provinces and cities about the resumption of tourism on October 5.

 Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet and delegates at the meeting. Photo: TITC

The Deputy Minister appreciated the efforts and solutions to restore the tourism industry taken by localities in recent times, underlining that Vietnam’s tourism will focus on the domestic market, meeting the people’s traveling demand after a long period of stay-at-home due to the pandemic.

Localities are urged to pay attention to and carry out promotion and advertising, as well as deploying solutions to stimulate tourism demand, Viet said. 

“Stimulating demand does not mean reducing the price of products and services but offering a variety of utilities and better services to customers. Localities need to enhance regional linkages and build attractive tours,” he added.

In particular, localities should continue to implement support policies for businesses and workers in the tourism sector.

Localities are open to tourism

To promote travel demand and restore tourism activities across the country, many provinces and cities have focused on speeding up the Covid-19 vaccination program for their workers while restarting tourism packages. 

 Hoan Kiem Lake area is one of the most favorite places for tourists. HNT Photo: Bich Hoi

Hanoi is one of the localities that have been actively building tourism stimulus programs.

The capital city’s tourism sector has set up its reopening plan in four phases. Between October and November, tourism activities will be restored for tourists in the city, then for guests from other localities that are “green areas”. The last phase would be a total resumption of all tourism activities in the new normal in December. 

Tran Trung Hieu, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism, said the city will strengthen connections with localities and businesses to build tours and itineraries. 

“In the fourth quarter, the city will organize a series of events to attract visitors, while building a tourism digital transformation project and an online trading platform for employment and human resource training,” he said.

Along with Hanoi, the northern province of Quang Ninh has opened its door to welcome domestic visitors to famous destinations such as Ha Long Bay and Yen Tu scenic spot.

Based on the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, the province has built two plans to welcome domestic and foreign tourists, said Pham Ngoc Thuy, Director of the Quang Ninh Provincial Department of Tourism.

“As the target for the fourth quarter of 2021, the province is expected to serve about 900,000 visitors,” Thuy said.

In the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, where the pandemic is under control, the province has reopened to welcome tourists from some localities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, and Binh Duong.

On October 20, the province will announce the tourism e-commerce platform, and an online tourism fair is planned to take place in November and December to welcome tourists during the year-end.

At the online meeting, Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Trung Khanh emphasized safety as a prerequisite to restarting the tourism industry in the new normal.

“This is also a criterion for all tourism activities. The opening scheme should be implemented in phases beginning from within the locality, then nationwide and ultimately the reopening for international travel,” Khanh affirmed.

Representatives of the localities’ tourism industry raised their concern that vaccination coverage is not the same among localities, which could hamper the reopening.

In order to facilitate tourism activities, they suggested it is necessary to develop a set of common criteria across the country on green cards issuance (for those fully vaccinated) and yellow cards (for those who have the first dose of vaccine) to avoid inconsistency in the application between localities. 

“It is necessary to have regulations on vaccine passports before welcoming international tourists,” they underlined.

Regarding welcoming international tourists, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet said that the industry is following the conclusion of Politburo and the Government’s direction on piloting to welcome visitors to the southern island of Phu Quoc. Up to now, people over 18 years old in Phu Quoc have received 100% of the first dose of vaccine, and more than 10% of the second dose. The island is expected to achieve herd immunity by the end of October. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will work with Kien Giang province and relevant ministries and sectors to deploy the pilot plan, which is expected to expand to other localities soon.