Foreign tourists, including Vietnamese, are still required to complete COVID-19 testing within 48 hours before boarding their flights to China and might be randomly selected to take a test at a Chinese airport after their arrival.
Many regulations, requirements, and procedures were announced at the Zhangjiajie (China)-Ho Chi Minh City tourism promotion seminar on Monday by Vietnamese and Chinese travel firms to boost tour-connectivity and speed up tourism recovery after a three-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In early April, some flights operated by Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways will transport Vietnamese visitors to China.
Tu Chau, deputy consul general of China in Ho Chi Minh City, said that on March 15, China added Vietnam to its list of approved countries for group tours in its second-phase pilot program of outbound group tours and allowed passengers on board direct flights from Vietnam to take an antigen test instead of a test based on samples of secretions.
Besides, China has reinstated its visa issuance and entry policies.
This means that foreign travelers, including Vietnamese visitors, must still undergo a rapid COVID-19 test or a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) within 48 hours before flying to China, said many travel firms.
However, if tourists are positive for the virus, they will not be forced to quarantine, but will be asked to avoid large gatherings.
In 2019, some 4.5 million Vietnamese travelers visited China, making it Vietnam’s favorite destination.
Meanwhile, Vietnam welcomed 5.8 million Chinese holidaymakers in the year, accounting for some 30 percent of its international tourist arrivals.
The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the China-Vietnam tourism partnership, but since the Chinese government softened its zero-COVID policy and relaxed its travel restrictions, many Chinese travelers have gradually returned to Vietnam.
Also, the General Consulate of China in Ho Chi Minh City restarted applications for tourist visas.
The representative of the Chinese side expected the new relaxed policies to further drive up the two countries’ tourism cooperation.
Bui Thi Ngoc Hieu, deputy general director of the Ho Chi Minh Department of Tourism, said that in the first three months of 2023, some 49,000 Chinese tourists have arrived in the city.
During the pre-pandemic period, the city received over 1.2 million Chinese visitors, moving China into the third place among its largest tourist source markets and making up 20.6 percent of Vietnam’s total Chinese tourist arrivals.
After the pandemic was put under control, Vietnam enacted multiple supportive policies and incentives to back economic recovery, including bolstering tourism.
It is high time for Vietnam’s cities and provinces to revive the tourism industry by rolling out a series of tourism promotion programs.
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