470 foreign tourists stranded in Saigon, but few want to leave

By Hoang Phong   April 16, 2020 | 09:50 pm PT
470 foreign tourists stranded in Saigon, but few want to leave
A man rides past the deserted Bui Vien backpacker precinct in HCMC's District 1, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
The HCMC tourism department said there are 470 foreign tourists still in the city but less than 10 percent wish to fly home immediately amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the 470, only 31 have expressed a desire to return home soon. The department has reported to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) so that the government can arrange flights to repatriate them.

The Ministries of Transport and Foreign Affairs have liaised with embassies of foreign countries whose citizens are currently stranded in Vietnam after it closed its borders and suspended international flights.

The VNAT has exhorted lodging establishments to waive or reduce room rents for the foreign tourists until the transport ministry can arrange flights for them.

On Monday 100 British tourists in Vietnam and Cambodia were repatriated by a Vietnam Airlines flight, the foreign ministry said.

Vietnamese carriers suspended all international flights on March 25.

Since March 22 Vietnam has prohibited entry for all foreign nationals except those with diplomatic or official passports.

The number of foreign arrivals in Ho Chi Minh City in Jan-March fell by 42 percent year-on-year to 1.3 million, while tourism revenues declined by 26 percent to VND25.5 trillion ($1.08 billion), according to the department.

Last year there were over 8.6 million visitors.

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