Ho Chi Minh City not yet Ready for Foreign Tourists Welcome This Year
|Foreign tourists take cyclo rides in downtown HCMC, 2019. Photo: Shuttle Stock|
The city will open up its tourism activities in three phases based on the pandemic situation, VNE reported.
Accordingly, during the first phase in October, the city will only allow travel companies to organize one-day tour packages to ‘green zones,’ which are deemed to have low Covid-19 spreading risks such as Cu Chi and Can Gio districts, famous for historical sites and eco-tourism destinations.
People joining these tours must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recovered from the disease. All travel companies, accommodation facilities and tourist destinations must comply with all Covid safety rules.
In the second phase from November until the end of the year, the city will focus on boosting the domestic tourism market, welcoming back tourists from other localities where the pandemic has been brought under control.
In 2022, the city plans to resume all tourism activities and consider welcoming back fully vaccinated foreign tourists.
The city has organized several tours to the outlying districts Can Gio and Cu Chi for Covid-19 frontline workers in gratitude for their contributions to fighting the pandemic.
|A resident in HCMC's Go Vap district gets the Covid-19 vaccine shot. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
In the first nine months of this year, the city welcomed only 7.7 million domestic tourists and earned tourism revenues of VND39.5 trillion ($1.73 billion), down 31 percent year-on-year.
HCMC has recorded over 400,000 infections in the ongoing wave. Its high vaccination rate and a strategic shift from a zero-virus strategy to living with the pandemic has enabled the city to lift most restrictions and resume most social-economic activities since October 1.
In early September, the government has approved plans to fully immunized tourists from Europe, the U.S., Northeast Asia, Australia, and the Middle East to visit Phu Quoc from October.
Under a six-month trial program, 2,000-3,000 tourists will come every month by charter flight in the first three months, and stay in sequestered resorts and limited areas.
Then the monthly number will increase to 5,000-10,000 with tourists also arriving by commercial flights, and they will be permitted to visit more destinations on the island.
Visitors need to furnish documents showing they had received two shots of a Covid-19 vaccine approved by Vietnam, the second between 14 days and 12 months before the date of entry, or that they had Covid and recovered in the previous 12 months.
They also need to present a negative PCR result with the test done within 72 hours before departure.
|Tourists at a beach in Phu Quoc. Photo: VNA|
All tourist facilities are ready to welcome back the visitors, said Huynh Quang Hung, Chairman of the city People’s Committee, adding the local administration is speeding up vaccination to ensure all residents on the island are fully vaccinated.
Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet in late September stated that the resumption of tourism services in Phu Quoc could open up a programme to promote international tourism on a wider scale.
The ministry is set to hold a virtual meeting with foreign ambassadors in early October to announce the scheme and call for greater sponsorship for communication campaigns.
Phu Quoc island city currently has 17 accommodation facilities, five travel agencies, and seven entertainment businesses which have registered for the pilot scheme.
Vietnamese 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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