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Vietnam government asked to reopen international tourism as soon as early next month

Vietnam government asked to reopen international tourism as soon as early next month

Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 17:46 GMT+7
Vietnam government asked to reopen international tourism as soon as early next month
This image shows a group of Russian travelers who came to Khanh Hoa Province, in south central Vietnam, in late December 2021 in a pilot plan to welcome international visitors with 'vaccine passports' to Vietnam after nearly two years of closure due to COVID-19. Photo: Minh Chien / Tuoi Tre

Many Vietnamese businesses and experts have appealed for the government fully open international tourism sooner than the previous recommended date of April 30, after nearly two years of closure due to COVID-19 impacts. 

The latest proposal was put forward at a workshop on international tourism resumption, held both physically and online by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and, Tourism in conjunction with some relevant agencies on Monday.

The country should utterly reopen tourism to international visitors from February 1 or March 1 instead of April 30 or May 1 as previously suggested by many agencies and businesses, Vietnam Airlines deputy general director Trinh Hong Quang and deputy standing vice-chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association (VTA) Vu The Binh recommended.

As the country has better controlled the pandemic, tourism should be resumed soon to welcome international visitors, without the need to continue any pilot resumption, the VTA official added.

Sharing the same view, Truong Gia Binh, head of the National Private Economic Development Research Board, pointed out that reopening tourism has caused no adverse impacts on the epidemic situation in Vietnam, evidenced by a trial restoration in several localities late last year.

“It is irrational not to fully open tourism soon,” Binh said.

Delayed tourism resumption is against the government’s resolution on flexible and safe adaptation to COVID-19 developments, the official emphasized.  

“If international tourism is not revived soon, who will provide jobs for 2.5 million tourism employees and millions of other related people?" Binh raised a question.

“Many tourism businesses have become exhausted from the pandemic."

Dr. Nguyen Thuy Anh, an epidemiologist, also supported an early resumption of international tourism, saying the country has built up far stronger immunity against the coronavirus.

Currently, the tourism closure will not help reduce coronavirus transmission or prevent the Omicron variant from penetrating into Vietnam, the expert said.

Meanwhile, Tran Trong Kien, chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB), suggested the reopening time should be March 1, whereas a representative of Hanoi said the date could be April 1.

Hanoi and Vietnam Airlines representatives suggested the removal of quarantine rules on international tourists and proposed that the visa policy enacted prior to the pandemic be re-applied to foreign visitors.

The representative of TAB proposed an expansion of the list of countries whose citizens could enter Vietnam without a visa before COVID-19 and letting those visitors in whenever tourism is reopened.  

VTA standing vice-chairman Binh said his association will submit this proposal to the prime minister for consideration.

A representative of the Ministry of Public Security said among more than 8,500 international tourists recently entering Vietnam, up to 4,500 are overseas Vietnamese or foreigners with Vietnamese spouses.

These figures suggest that foreigners' demand for traveling to Vietnam is quite low, the representative said.

A number of tourism companies argued that some tough regulations in recent times on receiving international guests have caused difficulty in luring more tourists to Vietnam.

To facilitate foreigners' entry into Vietnam, the Southeast Asian country has so far recognized 'vaccine passports' or full vaccination certificates of 79 countries and territories, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

With such recognized papers, people entering Vietnam since January 1, 2022 have been required to self-quarantine at home, hotels or other facilities for only three days, instead of seven days of centralized quarantine as previously, pursuant to a new rule issued by the Ministry of Health last December.

They will be tested for COVID-19 on the first and third day of entry. If they get a negative result, they will be required to monitor their health for the next 11 days, according to the rule.

Vietnam has documented 2,155,784 COVID-19 infections, with 1,841,180 recoveries and 36,884 fatalities, since the pandemic erupted in the country in early 2020, the health ministry’s data shows.

Health workers have administered above 176.4 million vaccine doses, including 882,832 shots on Sunday, since vaccination was rolled out nationwide on March 8, 2021.

Above 78.89 million of the country’s 98 million people have received at least one dose while more than 73.7 million have been injected twice.

The number of third doses – including additional primary shots for immunocompromised people, boosters, and third jabs of Cuba’s Abdala vaccine has exceeded 23.77 million.

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Vinh Tho / Tuoi Tre News

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