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Vietnam welcomes first Chinese tourists since start of pandemic via northern border gate

Vietnam welcomes first Chinese tourists since start of pandemic via northern border gate

Thursday, March 16, 2023, 19:26 GMT+7
Vietnam welcomes first Chinese tourists since start of pandemic via northern border gate
Leaders of Mong Cai City, Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam welcome the first group of Chinese tourists to the country after the northern neighbor resumes outbound group tours to Vietnam. Photo: Kim Oanh / Tuoi Tre

China resumed outbound group tours to Vietnam on Wednesday by sending a group of 38 Chinese tourists to Vietnam through the Mong Cai-Dongxing international border gate linking the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh with Guangxi Province. 

The group will participate in a four-day-and-three-night tour in Ha Long City under Quang Ninh Province and Hanoi.

In total, 632 Chinese tourists entered Vietnam through the border gate on Wednesday.

Positive signals from Chinese guests

To facilitate the immigration process, several additional officials have been detached to the border gate.

Nguyen Thu Huong, vice-chairwoman of the People’s Committee of Mong Cai City in Quang Ninh Province, said that the arrival of the first group of Chinese visitors to Vietnam is a positive signal.

The city has asked relevant agencies to review infrastructure, equipment, and processes at the border gate, while working with their Chinese counterparts to prepare for the influx of Chinese tourists.

Chinese travelers pose for a photo at the Mong Cai International Border Gate in Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Kim Oanh / Tuoi Tre

Chinese travelers pose for a photo at Mong Cai International Border Gate in Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Kim Oanh / Tuoi Tre

The People’s Committee of Mong Cai City also asked travel companies to prepare to welcome groups of Chinese visitors via Mong Cai International Border Gate.

Mong Cai City has improved the quality of its existing tourism products and launched new ones, such as border tourism activities, shopping, and food tours.

Nguyen Van Thanh, head of the Bac Luan border station at Mong Cai International Border Gate, said that more border guards were dispatched to the crossing when the resumption of immigration and import-export activities between Vietnam and China was announced.

A tour guide for China’s Shenzhou Travel Company, which organized the tour for the first Chinese tourist group to Vietnam since the pandemic, said the company plans to take tourist groups to other localities in the Southeast Asian country, such as Da Nang and Khanh Hoa on the central coast.

On Wednesday morning, authorities in Mong Cai City offered flowers to the first group of Chinese visitors to enter Vietnam through Mong Cai International Border Gate.

Trade resumes

China relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions on January 8, but trade through the Mong Cai-Dongxing international border gate was not resumed until February 21.

Pham Duc Huyen, director of Ngan Minh Ngoc Co. Ltd., a company in Quang Ninh Province, said that import-export activities at the border gate have been ramped up since vehicles from both countries were permitted to travel through Mong Cai again.

Import-export activities have ramped up since vehicles from both Vietnam and China were permitted to travel between the two countries. Photo: H.Viet / Tuoi Tre

Import-export activities have ramped up since vehicles from Vietnam and China were permitted to travel between the two countries. Photo: H.Viet / Tuoi Tre

Hundreds of trailer trucks have passed through the Bac Luan II Bridge border gate each day since COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed.

According to a report by the management board of Mong Cai International Border Gate, over 234,200 metric tons of goods passed through the Bac Luan II Bridge border gate during the first week of this month, surging 108 percent over the same period last year.

Mong Cai City generated a trade turnover of US$244.64 million in the first two months of the year, inching up three percent year on year, including $153.06 million in exports and $91.58 million in imports.

A Chinese trader rearranges goods at her booth in a market in Mong Cai City, Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam after shutting down the booth for several years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: H.Viet / Tuoi Tre

A Chinese trader re-arranges goods at her booth at a market in Mong Cai City, Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam after shutting down the booth for several years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: H.Viet / Tuoi Tre

China last week added Vietnam to a list of countries where its tour agencies are allowed to organize group tours to.

This is the second phase of the northern neighbor’s pilot program for resuming outbound group tours.

According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam welcomed 5.8 million Chinese tourists in 2019, or some 30 percent of the country’s international tourist arrivals.

The Southeast Asian country set a target to welcome eight million foreign travelers this year.

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Thanh Ha - Tien Thang / Tuoi Tre News

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