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Travel firms resume outbound tours as border restrictions eased

By Lan Huong, Nguyen Quy   January 26, 2022 | 04:57 pm PT
Travel firms resume outbound tours as border restrictions eased
A group of Vietnamese tourists take a yatch tour in the South Pole in Antarctic, 2019. Photo courtesy of VietGlobal Travel
After a long suspension due to Covid-related border closures, Vietnamese travel firms have resumed outbound tours with prices of up to VND338 million ($14,900).

Hanoi-based tour operator VietGlobal Travel is launching a 16-day tour package to the South Pole with prices of up to VND338.9 million in which tourists would visit Ushuaia, dubbed the world's southernmost city in Argentina, and explore Drake Passage or Neko Port by expedition yacht.

The South Pole is located on Antarctic and one of the coldest climatic regions. In the summer in the Southern Hemisphere, the sun is bright and warm, suitable for sightseeing. In addition to admiring giant icebergs, visitors can see whales, seals, Adelie penguins and green-eyed cormorants with the closest distance to five meters.

Hoang Phung Hieu, deputy director of the company, said five Vietnamese tourists booked tours to the South Pole late last year.

The company also launched expedition tours to the North Pole, the kingdom of birds in the South Pacific Island region or Madagascar and the Indian Ocean, with prices starting from VND208 million.

Antarctica's unique position as an internationally administered region means it isn't subject to Covid restrictions. However, because tourists must access the continent from Chile and Argentina, they are subject to the entry rules of those countries.

Chile is currently open to fully vaccinated international travelers, with tourists required to submit a negative PCR test three days before their arrival.

Argentina requires fully vaccinated visitors to provide evidence of their vaccination status and a negative PCR test taken in the last 72 hours, or proof that they have recently recovered from Covid-19.

Leading tour operator Vietravel has launched a five-day tour package to Qatar's capital Doha to watch the FIFA World Cup competition, which will take place from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18. The price of a tour ranges from VND199.99 million.

Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, deputy marketing head of Vietravel, said World Cup is the biggest football event on the planet, which would be attended by hundreds of thousands fans from around the world, leading to scarce accommodation services and costly hotel prices, which is why the tour price is quite expensive.

Qatar now lists Vietnam in a group of green countries with low Covid risk from which fully vaccinated visitors are exempted from providing a negative PCR result obtained within 72 hours before arrival, but must perform a rapid antigen test within 36 hours of landing.

Some other Ho Chi Minh City-based tour operators like Hoan My and Migola Travel are selling tours to South America with prices ranging from VND150 to 250 million. With a journey lasting nearly half a month, tourists will explore countries like Brazil, Peru, Argentina and Panama.

Optimism

Though these tour packages are quite expensive, Hieu said he is optimistic as most of his customers are ready to travel abroad as international flights reopen.

Khanh also showed her high hopes for outbound tour sales to World Cup host Qatar as her company served 25 groups of tourists with about 600 people to Russia to watch this tournament in 2018.

Vietnam's aviation industry officially reopened regular flights between Hanoi, HCMC and Bangkok, Phnom Penh, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo from Jan. 1 and plans to resume more routes to Europe in future.

Under current regulations, fully vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid-19 arriving in Vietnam only need to self-isolate for three days.

Everyone, except children below two, must have tested negative for the novel coronavirus using the PCR method within 72 hours before departure.

 
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