Vietnam’s government is looking to launch a new visa protocol which would allow foreign visitors with COVID-19 vaccination certificates to enter Phu Quoc, an archipelago off the coast of Kien Giang Province in southern Vietnam.
The Government Office on Tuesday ordered the Ministry of Health, as well as the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, to hasten its rollout of a new visa policy on the Phu Quoc Islands which would make it easier for international visitors and stranded Vietnamese with COVID-19 vaccination certificates, informally known as 'vaccine passports,' to enter the locale.
The scheme is deemed as in alignment with the Politburo's defined goals in ensuring epidemic prevention and economic development.
The Ministry of Health is required to lead a research effort and possible tryout of a ‘vaccine passport’ on Phu Quoc Islands, as well as COVID-19 vaccinations for local children.
The ministry has also been tasked with devising and launching a vaccination campaign for locals that would allow the locale to achieve herd immunity before a specified yet unannounced deadline.
The Prime Minister also ordered the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to work with Kien Giang municipal authority to conceive a reopening plan to welcome back foreign visitors, which is to be submitted in July.
The decision is well received by tourism firms as an uplifting sign for recovery in the second half in 2021, since the number of foreign visits to Vietnam tends to peak in October.
In a recent statement, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said it is also working on the tourism reopening plan with ‘vaccine passport’ acceptance.
“The reopening to foreign tourists should be diligently considered, with epidemiological safety an utmost priority,” a VNAT official said.
“We will try out different options, including tourists’ home countries, flight modes, destinations, and tourism products.”
“Only agencies with a proven capacity in epidemic guideline adherence will be allowed to serve foreign tourists.”
In the past months, Vietnam's tourism heavyweights have been petitioning for the reopening of secluded locations in Vietnam to foreign, vaccinated tourists.
Phu Quoc Islands off southern Kien Giang Province, with low population concentration, adequate isolation from the mainland, sufficient infrastructure, hotel and service quality, and an established reputation in tourism, ticked all the boxes as the ideal location to launch the plan.