The past decade has seen the country welcome 3.7 million and 5.04 million foreign travelers in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The local tourism sector enjoyed impressive results after the arrival of a record 18 million international tourists in 2019. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is seen as a big hurdle for the sector to reach the target set for next year.
Since the country reopened to international tourism last month, approximately 3,500 foreign visitors have arrived in the nation. According to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the country will continue to attract international arrivals from the Republic of Korea, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and India in January, 2022.
Nguyen Trung Khanh, VNAT director general said that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has asked the Government to resume the visa exemption period of less than 15 days for visitors from designated markets.
It also suggested the Government permit travel operators to welcome the return of foreign tourists via regular commercial flights, by sea or land, and allow the south central coastal province of Binh Dinh and Ho Chi Minh City to welcome back foreign tourists in the second phase of the vaccine passport programme that started from December 15.
Furthermore, outbound tourism activities must also be restored as a means of promoting inbound tourism.
Currently, fully-vaccinated foreign arrivals recording negative COVID-19 test results will only be subject to home isolation or in their places of residence for three days upon entry by air, according to the latest guidance provided by the Ministry of Health and issued on December 16.
The latest regulations will be effective from January 1, 2022, the day the country is set to resume regular international flights on a pilot basis.
In line with the guidance, the arrivals must have proof of negative COVID-19 test results, using the gold-standard PCR method, within 72 hours prior to entry, except in the case of children under two years old. In addition, they must ensure health declaration before entry by using Vietnam’s PC-COVID app.