Foreign tourists happy to be back in Vietnam

By Lan Huong, Dac Thanh, Nguyen Quy   November 19, 2021 | 03:36 pm PT
Foreign tourists happy to be back in Vietnam
Bob Timmermans, a tourist from the Netherlands, does exercise inside New World Hoiana Resort in Quang Nam Province, Nov. 19 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
Several foreigners expressed their joy to be the first tourists to return to Vietnam after nearly two years of border closures.

Bob Timmermans from the Netherlands has acquired a negative result for the novel coronavirus in order to visit UNESCO heritage sites Hoi An and My Son Sanctuary on Saturday.

"Beautiful places. Good to be back," said the 36-year-old, who visited all those places when he was in Vietnam two years ago.

"I've been hoping to be able to return to Vietnam and finally I got a chance."

Timmermans is among more than 100 foreign tourists to visit Vietnam this week, nearly two years after the country closed its borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Vietnam Airlines flight carrying 29 tourists landed at Da Nang International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, followed by another Vietjet Air flight with nearly 100 passengers Thursday night. All are staying at the five-star New World Hoiana Resort in Quang Nam Province, home to Hoi An.

Svendsen Stein from Norway said he felt lucky to be one of the first to visit Vietnam since the country shut down international tourism in March last year.

"I was previously informed it would rain in Quang Nam, but when I arrived, it was very beautiful, which is a good sign for a memorable holiday," he said.

A 54-year-old American tourist identified as Tom said he feels happy to be back.

"Vietnam is a beautiful country. I already visited some famous places like Ha Long, Hoi An, Da Nang and Nha Trang," he said.

Tom (L)  talks to another tourist inside New World Hoiana Resort, November 19 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh

Tom (L) is with another tourist at New World Hoiana Resort, Quang Nam Province, Nov. 19 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh

A 69-year-old Swedish man named Petter said he felt very happy to be able to travel to Vietnam after so long.

"I love Vietnam and I feel as if I've returned to my home - I will stay for 19 nights to visit more places," he said.

Nguyen Nhu Nam, general director of tour operator Vietnam Travel Mart, which is in charge of welcoming the first groups of tourists to Quang Nam, said right after arriving at the resort, a few tourists went to swim or play golf.

"There has been good feedback about the service," Nam said.

Nam added that all tourists showed negative results for the coronavirus and 50 will visit Hoi An ancient town by cyclo on Saturday morning, while others visit other attractions.

Quang Nam is one of five localities to get the green light from the government to welcome back fully immunized tourists from November, along with Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Quang Ninh, and Da Nang.

Quang Nam received over 4.6 million foreign tourists in 2019, the last full year of normal travel before Covid broke out.

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