The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has been discussing with the Vietnam Tourism Association the gradual opening of the tourism market for each specific group of tourists coming from different countries.
Although the Vietnamese government has allowed the entry of some foreigners, tourists are still not allowed to enter Vietnam at the moment. The only visitors that can enter are those whose purpose of the visit is essential, such as businessmen, investors, skilled workers, and foreign experts who have important contributions to Vietnam’s economy. Because of this, the tourism industry in Vietnam is still struggling to recover.
After almost a year of closing its borders to foreign travelers, Vietnam’s General Department of Tourism has urged the government to consider opening the borders for the International tourism market.
During the seminar held on March 5th in Quang Ninh Province, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, the Deputy Director of Vietnam’s General, Department of Tourism has said that Vietnam will not open its borders massively to incoming tourists. Instead, they will allow the entry of foreign visitors gradually, and they will be grouped according to certain categories.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong further revealed that they will follow certain protocols when opening Vietnam to the International Tourism Market. Foreign visitors will be grouped according to certain criteria and implement requirements for these visitors to fulfill. Not only that, they will ask tourists to book a package tour and avoid visiting crowded areas to prevent the spread of Covid-19. She also said that they will come up with a list of destinations for these visitors to visit. They might also urge independent tourist resorts to open their doors and welcome international visitors.
Mr. Nguyen Manh Tien, the Deputy Director of Vietnam’s External Relations Committee of the National Assembly, has agreed with Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong regarding the opening of the borders for tourism. He believes that it is already the right time to allow foreign tourists into the country. According to him, given the many investments for the tourism markets all over the country today, he believes that Vietnam’s ministries and branches should send a proposal to the Government about the opening of the tourism market. He said that the Government should start to create standards and criteria for the early restart of tourism in safe areas.
In the neighboring Asian country of Vietnam, Thailand is planning to open its tourism market to travelers who possess a so-called “Covid Passport”. These refer to travelers who have been vaccinated. But despite the possession of a “Covid Passport”, Thailand still considers quarantining these travelers for a few days. Thailand is hoping to revive its tourism market by making money from “villa isolation”. In line with this, Mr. Nguyen Manh Tien has suggested following the same step and restart Vietnam’s tourism industry as soon as possible.
Currently, Vietnam has more than two thousand tour operators and has about three thousand tourist accommodation establishments. Both the tourism and services-related industry have been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As of March 5, 2021, the Ministry of Health of Vietnam has confirmed a total of 2,488 cases of COVID-19 in the country. However, almost 2,000 patients have since recovered. Only 35 deaths due to Covid-19 were recorded in Vietnam.
On March 3, the Van Don Airport in the province of Quang Ninh has already resumed its operations after closing temporarily due to Covid-19 transmissions. Meanwhile, authorities in Hanoi have allowed the reopening of cafes and restaurants across the city, but with strict prevention measures. In the province of Hai Duong, authorities have lifted the social distancing measures and ended the lockdowns imposed on Chi Linh City and the Cam Giang district.
Even though the tourists are still not allowed to enter Vietnam, the government is already allowing the entry of some eligible visitors. These are visitors with essential reasons to visit the country. However, before they can enter Vietnam, they are required to apply for an entry permit and pre-book their hotel stay for the 14-day quarantine. Short-term visitors are exempted from the quarantine.
Businessmen and foreign workers must have a sponsor company that will apply for the entry permit on their behalf. The Vietnam Immigration will not issue a visa to those who have no entry permit. Before entering the country, all foreign visitors are required to show a negative Covid-19 test result, taken via PCR test. The test should be performed by an authorized testing facility and should be taken 3 to 5 days before the flight to Vietnam. Upon arrival in Vietnam, all visitors will be checked for any symptoms. Those who are showing symptoms will immediately be isolated and will be tested for Covid-19.