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Hoi An welcomes first foreign tourists in 20 months

Hoi An welcomes first foreign tourists in 20 months

Sunday, November 21, 2021, 14:54 GMT+7
Hoi An welcomes first foreign tourists in 20 months
Foreign tourists travel Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam on cyclos (cycle rickshaws) as part of a pilot program to welcome international visitors to the locality after a two-year halt due to COVID-19 on November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Two groups of 50 foreign tourists in total, the first quarantine-free international travelers to enter Vietnam in 20 months, received a keen reception from locals as they arrived in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province on Saturday.

They were among 159 tourists visiting Quang Nam via Vietnam’s trial campaign to accept vaccine passports, according to news site VnExpress.

Thirty of them arrived from Incheon, South Korea in Quang Nam on Wednesday, marking the first international tourists to visit the province after Vietnam closed its borders in March last year due to COVID-19.

On Saturday morning, 50 visitors arrived in two groups at Hoi An City's famed Cau Pagoda (Japanese Covered Bridge), where they were presented with souvenirs in a welcoming ceremony held by local authorities.

Each group then went on separate itineraries to discover noteworthy locations of Hoi An, including museums, theaters, and ancient houses.

An U.S. family visits Hoi An CIty, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

An U.S. family visits Hoi An CIty, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Among the tourists were Gundlach and his wife Luong Thi Nam, who were delighted to be able to return to Vietnam and visit their relatives for the first time since the pandemic broke out two years ago.

“After spending two years exclusively in the United States, we felt stressed out,” Nam said.

“We are now overjoyed to be able to go back to my hometown, visit our relatives, and travel around.”

Nicholas Dawes, an American tourist, said this was his second visit to Hoi An. 

It would not be his last, as the warm welcome of local residents and leaders has brought him lots of joy. 

Foreign tourists visit Cau Pagoda (Japanese Covered Bridge,) Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists visit Cau Pagoda (Japanese Covered Bridge,) Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Van Lanh, deputy chairman of the Hoi An City People’s Committee, said the return of foreign visitors resulted from a long and relentless attempt from Quang Nam authorities. 

Over the past months, Hoi An City and Quang Nam Province have welcomed and organized quarantine for 25,000 repatriated citizens, which proved their capacity to relaunch international tourism with high safety standards.

“Hoi An was seen by international tourism agencies and visitors as their first choice in this reopening phase, which serves as a sliver of hope for us in this tough time,” Lanh said.

“I believe this event would encourage more tourists to come to the city and inspire locals to maintain a safety track record and rebuild lives in a ‘new normal’ era.”

Le Ngoc Tuong, deputy head of Quang Nam Provincial Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said the return of foreign visitors signals an international tourism recovery.

Following a government-endorsed plan, many other locations in Vietnam are on track to bringback foreign tourists, Tuong added.

Quang Nam has reported 2,219 local infections since the fourth coronavirus wave hit Vietnam on April 27.

Over 78 percent of the central province’s adult population have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine while nearly 18 percent have been fully vaccinated, according to the national COVID-19 vaccination portal.

Vietnam has detected 1,084,625 COVID-19 infections since the pandemic first hit the country early last year, including a total of 1,079,529 community transmissions in its 63 provinces and cities since the fourth virus wave broke out.

More than 40 million people of the country’s 98-million population have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus. 

The central government has relaxed pandemic control curbs over the past few weeks as transmissions have slowed down, partly due to larger vaccine coverage.

However, the number of infections has appeared to rebound in many locales in recent days.

Foreign tourists travel Hoi An City in Vietnam’s central Quang Nam Province on cyclos as part of a pilot program to welcome international visitors to the locality after a two-year halt due to COVID-19 on November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists travel Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam on cyclos (cycle rickshaws) as part of a pilot program to welcome international visitors to the locality after a two-year halt due to COVID-19 on November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists visit Cau Pagoda (Japanese Covered Bridge,) Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists visit Cau Pagoda (Japanese Covered Bridge) in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Tourists travel Hoi An City in Vietnam’s central Quang Nam Province on cyclos, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Tourists travel Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam on cyclos, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists visit Hoi An City in Vietnam’s central Quang Nam Province, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists visit Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists visit an ancient house in Hoi An City in Vietnam’s central Quang Nam Province, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists visit an ancient house in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists visit an ancient house in Hoi An City in Vietnam’s central Quang Nam Province, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists visit an ancient house in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

A foreign tourist takes a photo of Hoi An City in Vietnam’s central Quang Nam Province, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

A foreign tourist takes a photo of Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

A young tourist wears non la at Hoi An City in Vietnam’s central Quang Nam Province, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

A young tourist wears a 'non la' in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Cyclo (cycle rickshaw) drivers transport tourists around Hoi An City in Vietnam’s central Quang Nam Province, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Cyclo drivers transport tourists around Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Tourists travel the Thu Bon River in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam on paddleboards, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Tourists travel the Thu Bon River on paddleboards in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

A children’s troupe performs in an event to welcome foreign tourists to Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

A children’s troupe performs in an event to welcome foreign tourists to Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Tuyet, a souvenir peddler in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, is delighted to see tourism activities return, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

Tuyet, a souvenir peddler in Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, is delighted to see tourism activities return, November 20, 2021. Photo: Le Trung / Tuoi Tre

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