Phu Quoc City off Kien Giang Province in southern Vietnam will receive international visitors with COVID-19 vaccination certificates, often called ‘vaccine passports,’ next month, according to a plan for tourism recovery amid the COVID-19 fight.
This plan, which has been approved by the central government, will be implemented for six months from November 20, when the island is scheduled to reach a safe vaccination coverage for its population, the province’s administration announced on Thursday.
Under this two-phase plan, the island will receive fully vaccinated travelers from countries with effective COVID-19 control in the European Union, the Middle East, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, North America, and Oceania.
All visitors are required to come from charter flights and buy package tours organized by travel agencies, according to the plan.
Guests must obtain full COVID-19 vaccination certificates recognized by Vietnamese authorities, with the second dose administered at least 14 days and no more than 12 months before their time of entry.
Children under 18 years old must have certified negative RT-PCR or RT-LAMP tests within 72 hours of departure.
Such foreign visitors will be served separately while experiencing tourism products on Phu Quoc, without contacting local residents, to prevent coronavirus transmission, said Nguyen Luu Trung, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
The first phase will last from the opening date until March 20, 2022, during which 3,000 to 5,000 travelers will be received per month through charter flights and will be served at a limited number of destinations.
Based on the outcomes of the first phase, the next stage will take place from March 20 to June 20 with up to 10,000 travelers to arrive a month.
Earlier, the plan was scheduled to start in early October but was postponed following the detection of some COVID-19 clusters that took time to be handled properly.
From September 21, the island city, after strict COVID-19 restrictions were eased as a result of effective epidemic control, has shifted to 'new normal conditions,’ a phrase the Vietnamese government uses to describe its new strategy of living safely with the coronavirus.
Phu Quoc, previously a district of Kien Giang, was turned into the country’s first island city on March 1 this year, pursuant to a resolution issued by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee in late 2020.
Over the past years, tourism has become a key economic sector of Phu Quoc, with the overall increase in annual arrivals to the island city reaching 28 percent, and for international arrivals only, the growth is over 45 percent per year, local leaders said.
The island is accelerating COVID-19 immunization benefiting its residents aged 18 and older by November 20, the time for the start of the tourism plan.
Meanwhile, Kien Giang, with a population of over 1.73 million people, had administered 820,546 first shots and 94,947 second shots to locals by Thursday, the national COVID-19 vaccination portal reported.
Since the pandemic hit the country in early 2020, the province has documented 7,472 COVID-19 cases including 82 deaths, the Ministry of Health reported.
Nationwide, 877,537 infections comprising 798,124 recoveries and 21,487 fatalities have been recorded in 62 out of the country’s 63 provinces and cities, except Cao Bang.