Vietnamese tourism is preparing to welcome international tourists again through a process which would align with the country’s ‘new normal’ and ensure effective epidemic control, the VNAT, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said in a recent meeting on tourism resilience.
Last month, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh agreed to the ministry’s proposal to pilot a plan to reopen Phu Quoc Island off the southern province of Kien Giang to foreign travelers.
Under the trial scheme, planned for November 2021 to March 2022, Phu Quoc would be the first destination to be reopened to foreign arrivals from countries and regions that Vietnam’s government considers to have put the pandemic under control, using vaccination rates as the primary benchmark.
These countries include the U.S., Australia, European countries, the Middle Eastern countries, and Northeast Asian countries.
International visitors to Phu Quoc will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with their second shot taken no less than 14 days and no more than 12 months prior to their entry.
They must also test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to their departure.
Based on the results of the pilot plan, other attractions, such as Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh Province, Hoi An Ancient Town in central Quang Nam Province, and the coastal city of Nha Trang in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, could potentially reopen to foreign arrivals from December 2021 to June 2022.
It is possible that all tourist destinations across the country could take in international tourists from next June, according to the VNAT.
In respect of domestic tourism, localities capable of controlling the pandemic are permitted to receive domestic tourists from November this year provided they have full COVID-19 vaccination and follow epidemic prevention measures, the agency said.
The tourism recovery process requires support from authorities at all levels, including relevant health, transport, and law enforcement, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
Due to the pandemic, Vietnam received only 3.7 million international visitors and 56 million domestic travelers in 2020, down 80 percent and 34.1 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.
During the same period, the country’s tourism revenue decreased 58.7 percent year on year, the ministry reported.
In order to support travel firms, the government has adopted a series of incentive policies, including extending deadlines for payment of various taxes and land rental fees, reduction of retail electricity prices, and exemptions or rebates on lending interest rates, the government portal said.
Vietnam has sealed its borders since March last year to prevent coronavirus spread, only allowing entry to foreign skilled workers, investors, diplomats, and Vietnamese repatriates, all subject to quarantine upon arrival.