Vietnam mulls welcoming foreign tourists to select destinations

By Lan Huong   October 8, 2021 | 05:22 pm PT
Vietnam mulls welcoming foreign tourists to select destinations
A foreign couple drink beer on Bui Vien Street in HCMC on December 22, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Authorities may reopen select tourist destinations to vaccinated foreign visitors, but the timeline will depend on localities' readiness, including vaccine coverage.

Nguyen Trung Khanh, head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said Friday that Vietnam has not finalized on when it can fully welcome foreign tourists back.

"A reopening roadmap has to be carefully planned based on Covid-19 control and the preparedness of localities."

Khanh said plans to receive foreign tourists to Vietnam's largest island Phu Quoc Island in the southern Kien Giang Province in November have been approved by the government, but a specific date has not been determined.

All residents on the island have received one Covid-19 vaccine shot, and the second shots will be administered in November to prepare for the opening, which is expected to be trialed in six months.

The government had earlier approved plans to allow fully immunized tourists from Europe, the U.S., Northeast Asia, Australia, and the Middle East to visit Phu Quoc, stay at sequestered resorts and visit a limited number of tourism spots during the first phase of the reopening.

Initially, the government had planned to welcome back foreign tourists to Phu Quoc Island from this month but low vaccination rates forced the island to push back reopening.

Khanh Hoa Province, home to beach towns Cam Ranh and Nha Trang, is expected to be the next destination in Vietnam to reopen to foreign tourists.

The government closed its doors to foreign tourists and canceled all international flights in March last year as a Covid containment measure. Only Vietnamese repatriates, foreign experts and highly-skilled workers are allowed in with stringent conditions.

Vietnam recorded a 79 percent decline year-on-year in the number of foreign visitors in 2020 due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic.

The nation welcomed just 3.83 million foreign visitors against a record 18 million in 2019, according to official data.

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