Vietnam Working on Roadmap for Full Tourism Re-Opening

Vietnamese top leader just ordered quick announcement of roadmap for full tourism reopening

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Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Feb. 8 ordered the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to work with relevant agencies to soon announce a roadmap for full tourism resumption, VnExpress reported.

Vietnam Working on Roadmap for Full Tourism Re-Opening
International tourists come back to Phu Quoc. Photo: VNA

This was the second time in a month the PM had urged the ministry to quickly and safely reopen tourism in the context that other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos and the Philippines have reopened their borders to foreign tourists with quarantine exemption.

Earlier this month, the PM asked authorities to prepare for reopening the borders to foreign tourists no later than the end of April and ideally at the end of March.

Last month, the ministry proposed for Vietnam to completely reopen inbound and outbound tourism starting March 31.

Visitors to Vietnam must be either fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19, have a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours, and have medical insurance that covers Covid-19 treatment of at least US$50,000, the ministry said.

With borders closed, the number of foreign arrivals plunged by 96% last year.

In November the government started allowing foreign tourists in under a vaccine passport program.

As of Feb. 7, Vietnam welcomed 8,967 international tourists since the pilot programme was launched, VNA cited the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s annoument on Feb. 9.

Vietnam Working on Roadmap for Full Tourism Re-Opening
Vietnam welcomes nearly 9,000 international tourists under pilot programme. Source: NDO

The ministry said that foreign arrivals visited the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, and the central provinces of Khanh Hoa and Quang Nam, which have been selected for the programme together with central Da Nang city and northern Quang Ninh province.

Most of them came from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the UK, the US and Canada.

16 travel firms, 82 lodging facilities, 28 tourist sites, eight shopping centres and 48 transportation companies in the five targeted localities have registered and been eligible to join the first phase of the programme.

The first phase has been rolled out in line with Covid-19 prevention and control regulations, and received the warm response from holiday-makers, the ministry said.

It also proposed the Government direct the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work on unilateral visa exemption for countries and territories, which had been in place before the pandemic outbreak.

The ministry suggested further negotiations with countries and territories for the recognition of Vietnam’s vaccine passport, and the use of a single application for Covid-19 prevention and control.

In January, Vietnamese airlines, travel companies and hotel businesses have proposed the Prime Minister announce the point of time for resuming international tourism in the country, saying the impressive results in the largest-ever vaccination campaign have provided a particularly important basis for Vietnam to accelerate economic recovery and reopen the aviation and tourism sectors to international friends.

The urgent petition was jointly signed by Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Bamboo Airways, Pacific Airlines, Vietravel Airlines, Hai Au Aviation, along with major travel and hotel firms – Vietravel, Saigontourist, TMG, Sun Group, and BIM.

Apart from the restoration of all unilateral and bilateral visa exemption and e-visa programmes, the businesses recommended the Government consider expanding the visa exemption to tourists from the key and strategic markets such as the entire Europe, Australia, and North America.

They also appealed for extending the visa exemption duration from 14 days to 30 days to match the trend towards longer holidays.

Hannah Nguyen