Vietnam tourism recovery prospects dimmer than regional peers

By Nguyen Quy   April 22, 2022 | 04:47 pm PT
Vietnam tourism recovery prospects dimmer than regional peers
Foreign tourists visit Hoi An ancient town in April 2022 as Vietnam reopens international tourism. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
Vietnam lags well behind several Southeast Asian peers in terms of tourism recovery prospects, according to the Travel-ready index 2022 released this week by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Vietnam has a final score of 4.08 out of 10 in the index, putting it behind Malaysia (2.15), Singapore (2.45), Cambodia (3.25), Thailand (3.3), the Philippines (3.75) and Indonesia (4.05).

The index measures 28 Asian economies based on the favorability of tourism conditions such as local vaccination coverage, ease of travel, and the convenience of returning home.

A lower score indicates more favorable conditions for tourism recovery, the EIU report said, adding: "The top performers in the index have all eased visa and entry restrictions since 2021 or earlier."

Vietnam reopened inbound tourism from March 15, later than Thailand and the Philippines.

Tourism in the region, with the exception of Fiji and the Maldives, would likely not recover to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2024, largely as a result of China’s restrictive border policies, the EIU report said.

Among the 28 economies in the index, 13 economies, including Vietnam, were reliant on China as their top feeder market before the pandemic.

In 2019, China topped foreign arrivals in Vietnam at 5.8 million.

Among Asia Pacific destinations, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Maldives are in the strongest positions to revive their pandemic-battered tourism industries, while Hong Kong has the worst prospects due to its strict entry restrictions.

Vietnam allows quarantine-free entry and only requires foreign visitors to present a negative Covid test result upon arrival.

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