Phu Quoc wants vaccination speeded up to get tourists back

By Lan Huong   September 9, 2021 | 11:04 pm PT
Phu Quoc wants vaccination speeded up to get tourists back
Crystal blue water off Phu Quoc Island. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Luan
Phu Quoc officials want the government to prioritize fully vaccinating 90 percent of the island's population against Covid-19 before tourism resumes in October.

Huynh Quang Hung, chairman of Phu Quoc, a popular tourism destination, said 35 percent of people aged 18 and above have got a first shot and the town needs another 250,000-300,000 doses to achieve herd immunity.

If the town gets enough vaccines this month authorities would immediately speed up vaccination, and the plan to welcome back foreign tourists in October could go ahead, he said Thursday at a meeting with tourism officials.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it would recommend that the Health Ministry and the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control to prioritize vaccine allocation for Phu Quoc.

Tourism minister Nguyen Van Hung said at least 90 percent of Phu Quoc's residents must be fully vaccinated to ensure both their safety and that of foreign visitors.

The island has a population of more than 180,000.

Foreign tourists who have got two shots of a Covid vaccine approved by Vietnam or have got and recovered from the disease will be allowed to visit Phu Quoc.

Some of Vietnam's major tourism markets with high Covid vaccination rates the ministry is eyeing include China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the U.S., Germany, Russia, the U.K., and France.

During the ongoing wave that began in late April, Phu Quoc has had five cases but all have recovered, and lockdown was lifted this week.

Vietnam's largest island has 25,000 hotel rooms and a number of entertainment complexes and malls.

Tourism is the mainstay of its economy.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had earlier this week ordered a pilot program to attract international tourists to the island this year, and 2-3 million arrivals are expected.

If it is successful, the government plans to allow other popular tourist destinations such as Hoi An, Ha Long, Nha Trang, and Da Lat to reopen to international visitors to rescue the tourism industry from a crisis.

The government has closed the country's borders and canceled all international flights since March 2020.

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