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Vietnam’s tourism admin reverses ban on tourists sharing COVID-19 updates, blames 'slip'

Saturday, May 02, 2020, 20:30 GMT+7
Vietnam’s tourism admin reverses ban on tourists sharing COVID-19 updates, blames 'slip'
Foreign tourists take photos of the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from an open-top double-decker tourist bus. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has revised a two-day-old guideline on novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prevention and control measures for tourism businesses, which included a controversial ban on tourists sharing information about the local epidemic situation.

VNAT chairman Nguyen Trung Khanh signed off the patch on Friday, May 1, two days after the guideline's initial release on April 29.

The guideline is intended to reinforce measures to ensure safety against COVID-19 for tourism businesses, tourist accommodation facilities, and tourism service providers.

The original guideline stated a no-go for tourists and tourism service users to post updates on social media about the epidemic situation of their service providers.

The ban gave rise to objection from the public with allegations of personal privacy intrusion and infringement upon the people's right to information.

The controversial regulation has been completely scrapped in the revised guideline.

In response to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper's request for comments regarding the amendment, chairman Khanh admitted there had been “a slip” in their process of drafting the initial document due to time restriction.

The amendment also brought changes to a section of the guideline that used to state that tour guides and tourism staff members may not ”share, update, post on social media and other means of communication” about the epidemic-related situation of tourism facilities.

The revised guideline now bans the spreading of false and unverified news only.

Being one of the hardest-hit factors of the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry in Vietnam is gradually reopening after the relaxing of social distancing rules from April 23.

This year’s successive four-day break, beginning Thursday, in celebration of the Reunification Day (April 30) and International Workers' Day (May 1) in Vietnam saw major sightseeing attractions like Phan Thiet and Da Lat crammed with visitors once again.

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