Plan to Welcome Back Foreign Tourists to Phu Quoc Unchanged

Phu Quoc will continue with its plan to open tourism for vaccinated foreign visitors in November.
September 25, 2021 | 08:09
Plan to Welcome Back Foreign Tourists to Phu Quoc Unchanged
A beach in Phu Quoc. Photo: VNA

Phu Quoc city off southern Kien Giang province is set to receive first charter flights from November 20 this year to bring foreign travelers with a vaccine passport to the island under a pilot scheme recently approved by the Prime Minister.

Nguyen Luu Trung, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said at a meeting on September 23 that local authorities would help firms with Covid-19 test, entry, and exit costs for tourists once Phu Quoc re-opens to international visitors.

The pilot scheme will be rolled out over a six-month period, with the island city to welcome from one to three initial flights between November 20 and December 20, according to VOV.

The city expects to receive approximately 3,000 to 5,000 foreign vacationers per month during the first phase, from December 20, 2021 to March 20, 2022, and 5,000 to 10,000 visitors in the second phase, from March 20 to June 20, 2022.

Phu Quoc targets foreign tourists from countries where Covid-19 has been put under control, including those from Europe, the Middle East, China, Taiwan (China), Russia, and Australia.

A beach resort on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province. Photo by VnExpress
A beach resort on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang province. Photo: VnExpress

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 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.

Bold measures taken to quickly put out the cluster

Phu Quoc medical center where people linked to a new community infection cluster are quarantined, September 20, 2021. Photo by VnExpress
Phu Quoc medical center where people linked to a new community infection cluster are quarantined, September 20, 2021. Photo: VnExpress

Phu Quoc is taking bold measures to stamp out a new Covid-19 cluster that was discovered several days ago in An Thoi ward, just a few hours after social distancing measures had been relaxed in the city.

The first case discovered was a 45-year-old woman, who had visited a nearby market every afternoon for the past month to shop for ingredients for her noodle eatery, which offers takeout and delivery services, according to VnExpress.

As the woman came to An Thoi ward’s medical center over prolonged cough and fever, she underwent a rapid Covid test, which turned out positive. Another real-time RT-PCR test result confirmed her infection.

Following contact tracing, at least 16 others including the woman’s husband, were found to have contracted the virus. The source of transmission might derive from Vinh Dam Port where the husband worked along with a team of workers in charge of loading goods.

Covid-19 testing in Phu Quoc. Photo: Zing
Covid-19 testing in Phu Quoc. Photo: Zing

Local authorities are conducting mass testing to quickly put out the cluster.

This is the first community outbreak detected in Phu Quoc since the Covid pandemic hit Vietnam early last year, although individual cases had been reported.

"This would be the first challenge we considered this as a big rehearsal to respond to Covid risks in the coming time when reopening international tourism," Trung said, as cited by Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper.

Hung told Vietnamnet on September 24 that Phu Quoc has reported 107 Covid-19 cases, all in quarantine areas.

Phu Quoc has contained the pandemic, and expects to shift to “new normal” conditions on September 30,” he said.

If the tourism programme gets underway, Phu Quoc will become the first locality in Vietnam to welcome foreign tourists since April 2020.

By September 24, Kien Giang, whose population is more than 1.73 million people, had administered over 243,000 first shots and some 50,500 second doses to local residents aged 18 and over, according to the Ministry of Health’s data.

Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest island, shot up in popularity after the government rolled out a 30-day visa-free policy for foreigners in 2014.

In 2019, before the onset of the ongoing pandemic, it received over five million visitors, including 541,600 foreigners./.

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