Economists propose scrapping Covid test requirement for foreign entrants

By Viet Tuan   May 9, 2022 | 01:01 am PT
Economists propose scrapping Covid test requirement for foreign entrants
American tourists wear Vietnamese conical hats 'non la' and traditional checkered black and white shawl 'khan rang' at a welcome ceremony in HCMC on April 8, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Huynh Nhi
Business experts have proposed that the government lift coronavirus test requirements for foreign entrants and waive visas for travelers from the U.S. and Australia to boost tourism.

In a proposal submitted to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh last week, experts from the government-run Private Economic Development Research Board said requesting coronavirus test results from foreign arrivals would be a "barrier" to reopening international tourism.

As currently ruled, anyone entering Vietnam must test negative for the new coronavirus within 72 hours if the test is done via the PRC method and 24 hours via rapid testing before departure.

The rule is applied to all entrants arriving by air, sea, or road.

The business group proposed to only require rapid Covid testing at border gates for those entering the country showing symptoms like coughing and fever.

They also wanted the government to remove the rule that requires tourists to furnish travel insurance including coverage for Covid-19 treatment worth at least $10,000.

Current requirements "have not kept up with the global pandemic situation, and failed to prove its effectiveness against the pandemic," the proposal said.

The business group also suggested the government urge foreign affairs and public security ministries to simplify visa procedures for foreign entrants to attract more tourists.

It pointed out that the current visa policy "has yet to meet the demand of travel post-Covid, and is not competitive compared to the policies of countries in the region."

It urged the government to expand the visa exemption list for potential tourism markets like Australia, Belgium, Canada, India, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.S. as well as allow a visa-free stay of up to 30 days for Western tourists from the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy from the current 15 days.

Vietnam has resumed its pre-pandemic visa policy for 24 economies, including Southeast Asian states, Japan, South Korea and several European countries, and e-visa issuance for 80 economies from March 15.

The number of foreign visitors increased by 4.6 times to nearly 70,000 in April from the previous month.

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