Vietnam to treat foreign and domestic tourists alike: deputy PM

By Lan Huong   March 15, 2022 | 07:01 am PT
Vietnam to treat foreign and domestic tourists alike: deputy PM
Foreign tourists cheer as they watch a football match on Bui Vien beer street in HCMC, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Vinh
Vietnam is determined to fully reopen its tourism industry and will adopt measures to treat foreign and domestic tourists alike, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said Tuesday.

"We are not just reopening tourism but also international trade and international exchange from March 15, as it used to be before Covid-19.

"The spirit is that we will not treat foreign tourists and local people differently, in terms of pandemic precaution measures," Dam said at a meeting with the ministries of tourism and foreign affairs.

Vietnam's tourism reopening has followed a careful roadmap that takes into account the nation's Covid situation, he said.

The health and tourism ministries are supposed to announce new regulations for foreign tourists and they are going to be simple, he said.

"Tourists traveling by air will need to be tested for Covid-19, and once they're here, they will be treated like Vietnamese people.

"Traveling by road and sea will have a few more rules."

The news that Vietnam is now reopened has sparked joy among many aviation and tourism firms. However, they all expect that the authorities will come up with specific regulations within Tuesday.

Nguyen Manh Quan, permanent Deputy CEO of Bamboo Airways, said that whatever the regulations are, it is necessary to send comprehensive message to business community and foreign tourists that Vietnam is now open.

"We believe that all businesses have been ready and that message will support us in destination competition," he said.

Vietnam has announced to fully reopen to tourism on March 15, promising to let foreign tourists travel freely without having to book package tours.

Specific quarantine and entry rules have been much awaited by foreigners the past weeks.

Yet the government only announced earlier on Tuesday to resume immigration procedures as before the pandemic, including 15-day visa exemption for citizens from 13 countries, Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K.

Deputy PM Dam said Vietnam will continue to collect opinions from ambassadors and businesses worldwide to consider adding more countries to its visa exemption and e-visa policies.

Tran Nguyen, Sales Director of Sun Group, suggested that there should be immediate medical regulations and a review of each stage to possibly ensure the most thorough and fastest recovery. She said that for now, it is no longer relevant to ask international visitors to follow all Covid-19 prevention protocols and only the rules of wearing masks and completing health declaration should be kept.

Regarding the policy to resume unilateral visa exemption, she said the policy should be valid for 30 days for international visitors.

Vietnam closed its borders in March 2020. It partially reopened to tourists last November with a vaccine passport program and has attracted 10,000 arrivals since. But the program requires visitors to book package tours and stay within a resort or hotel, which failed to interest many tourists, and many visitors have been overseas Vietnamese coming to see their relatives.

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