Authorities in Quang Ninh Province, which borders China, have said they will test only Chinese tourists who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms upon their entry to Vietnam via border gates in the northern province.
The province is prepared to welcome an influx of inbound tourists from China, which has scrapped almost all of its COVID-19 restrictions, Bui Van Khang, deputy chairman of Quang Ninh, said on Thursday.
The provincial People’s Committee has tasked its tourism department with working with travel firms, border guards and foreign affairs agencies to keep track of the numbers of arrivals at local border gates.
While the U.S. and many European countries have imposed mandatory COVID-19 tests on people arriving from China, Quang Ninh seeks to relax the testing rules to attract visitors from the neighboring country.
Nguyen Trong Dien, director of the Quang Ninh Department of Health, said that health workers will test only incoming Chinese tourists with COVID-19 symptoms and suspected cases.
Earlier this week, authorities in Quang Ninh’s Mong Cai City announced to drop RT-PCR COVID-19 test requirements for goods and people going through local border gates from January 8.
Like several other Vietnamese localities, Quang Ninh, where the economy is reliant on tourism, is making plans to welcome back visitors from the most important market.
In 2019, about six million Chinese tourists visited Vietnam, accounting for over 33.3 percent of nearly 18 million international visitors to the country, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
Vietnam only received 3.6 million foreign tourists last year, or 70 percent of its target, and is looking to welcome eight million this year, bolstered by China’s announcement of tourism reopening.
The Southeast Asian country began allowing international visitors back in mid-March 2022, and eased entry requirements nearly to where they were before the COVID-19 pandemic in May the same year.
Currently, international visitors to Vietnam have to neither take COVID-19 tests nor make health declarations before entry, nor show vaccination certificates.