Vietnam’s Tourism Bouncing Back
|Foreign tourists with a hotel guide in Hoi An, March 18, 2020. Photo: VnExpress
According to statistics from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), during the holiday, numerous holidaymakers flocked to touristy localities such as Sapa Town in Lao Cai province, Moc Chau district in Son La province, the ancient imperial city of Hue in Thua Thien Hue province, the coastal city of Da Nang, the ancient town of Hoi An in Quang Nam province, and Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
Tourist destinations in the southern region including Nha Trang City in Khanh Hoa province, Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, and Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang province also welcomed large numbers of vacationers, Nhan dan (People) newspaper reported.
In Hanoi, the municipal People’s Committee released a roadmap on recovering tourism and developing tourist activities in line with safe, flexible adaptation and effective control of the Covid-19 pandemic for the 2022 – 2023 period. Under the roadmap, Hanoi will reopen many tourist services, entertainment places, and religious establishments.
|Foreign visitors in Da Nang City. Photo: tourdanangcity.vn
On February 8, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed the Government a new reopening scheme. Accordingly, the second phase of the pilot programme on receiving foreign tourists would be rolled out from now to March 30, while conducting Covid-19 tests for tourists at their accommodations and expanding tourist destinations. International tourism activities, including both inbound and outbound tours, should be fully resumed from March 31, the ministry said.
Vietnam is among the countries with the highest Covid-19 vaccination coverage rates in the world. The country is speeding up the implementation of a Covid-19 vaccination campaign, with the aim to give booster shots to all eligible adults within the first quarter of 2022. Although the number of daily COVID-19 cases continues to rise, the number of severe cases and deaths has decreased sharply, creating a firm foundation or Vietnam’s tourism recovery.
In the context when travel demand is soaring, Southeast Asian countries are racing to reopen their borders for international travellers. Recently, the Philippines officially announced its full opening to vaccinated foreign visitors, after a nearly two-year ban imposed due to the Covid-19. Therefore, reopening slowly could cost Vietnam great opportunities in recovering its tourism industry.
However, there are certain challenges in reopening. Currently, Vietnam has carried out Covid-19 vaccination for children aged 5 to 11. Tourism is gradually reopening at a time when students of all grades return to school. Without close control, the number of Covid-19 cases, severe cases and deaths will increase again.
Therefore, to grasp the opportunities of reopening, those participating in the sectors must strictly and fully observe regulations on pandemic prevention and control to mitigate Covid-19 transmission. In addition, travel businesses and services need to ensure their product quality and tighten the high level of safety for customers.
Vietnam considers visa exemption for 24 countries
|A group of French tourists visit Hanoi in February, 2019. Photo: VnExpress
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has asked the government to consider resuming unilateral visa exemptions for 24 countries that had enjoyed the policy prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, according to VnExpress.
The proposal has been made even as the ministry seeks approval for fully reopening borders to foreign tourists from March 31 onwards in a bid to revive the nation's beleaguered tourism industry.
Before the pandemic, the country had offered visa waivers to visitors from 24 countries and territories including ASEAN co-members. After the pandemic broke out in 2020, Vietnam suspended visa-free entry for many countries.
Earlier, visitors from Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K. had been allowed to stay in Vietnam for no longer than 15 days without a visa.
While tourists from nine ASEAN countries could enjoy a visa-free stay of up to 30 days, (21 days for the Philippines and 14 days for Brunei and Myanmar), Kyrgyzstan citizens had a visa exemption for no more than 30 days and that of Chile had one for no more than 90 days.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had assigned the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to work with relevant agencies to announce a roadmap for full tourism resumption soon./.
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