Phú Quốc hopes to welcome foreign tourists in autumn
Foreign tourists could be set to return to Viet Nam this autumn if a vaccine passport scheme is approved.
The spectacular island of Phu Quốc in the southern province of Kien Giang is set to become the first place to receive foreign tourists since borders were shut last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Politburo directed agencies and local authorities to trial a vaccine passport scheme for tourists to some tourism destinations where the pandemic is under control. The first destination proposed was Phu Quốc. The model will be expanded to other areas if it succeeds.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed the Government apply the policy to the Russian market first.
Travel experts have said that local residents should be vaccinated before tourists are allowed in, as should migrant workers on the island.
International tourists who want to enter the island should have a certificate proving they have been vaccinated together and a negative PCR test certificate.
“Vaccine injections carried out in uniform with digitalising people’s vaccine certificates will ease the later period when our Government and tourism sector discuss with other partners in the world,” said Phung Quang Thắng, director of Hanoitourist, also chairman of the Ha Noi Travel Agency Association.
Bui Băng Giang, founder of Asia Exotica Vietnam Travel, said her partners in Europe and South America said Viet Nam was among their first destinations.
“They are just waiting for Viet Nam to open her doors as Viet Nam has controlled the pandemic very well and tourism services have not been totally frozen like those in neighbouring countries,” she said.
“Tourism companies like ours are longing for the Government's announcement on the official opening day and clear regulations for foreign tourists.
"We have missed the chance to open the doors earlier than other countries in the region as we are late in giving vaccines to locals and approving vaccine passport.
"Now I just dare to consult my partners to plan for tours in Viet Nam from the second quarter of 2022," Giang said.
Over 2.57 million vaccine injections have been doled out in Viet Nam, with some 134,000 people receiving both doses.
Experts see the need to digitalise statistics on international software to create vaccine passports.
Tourism expert Lương Hoai Nam explained that individuals should have a QR code on their smartphone containing their vaccination information.
“Vaccine passports are an advanced solution to ease both domestic and international travelling,” he said. “It’s a crucial tool now.”
Domestic airlines like Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air are planning to accept the AITA Travel Pass.
According to forecasts, Viet Nam's tourism sector needs at least five years to recover from the consequences of COVID-19.
The number of foreign arrivals to Viet Nam in 2020 fell 79 per cent against 2019 and the number of domestic tourists reduced by 34 per cent. Some 95 per cent of international travel agencies stopped operations while 40-60 per cent of tourism workers lost their jobs or saw their working hours reduced. VNS
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