Disappointment As Vietnam Is Not Included on the List of countries China Will Resume Outbound Travel To

, Disappointment As Vietnam Is Not Included on the List of countries China Will Resume Outbound Travel To


After three years of waiting, many tourism businesses in Vietnam have expressed disappointment that the country was not included in the list of 20 countries that China has allowed its travel agencies to organize outbound tours to, starting from February 6th.

In the list of countries China will resume outbound travel to, seven of them are in Southeast Asia, two of which share a border with Vietnam – Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. According to a representative from Guangxi Overseas Travel Company in China’s Guangxi’s Province, the reason Vietnam wasn’t on the list was due to “procedural issues”.

Since China announced the border reopening from January 8th, 2023, CEO of Hanoi-based Kim Lien International Travel Co, Ngo Lan Phuong, who’s company specializes in tourists travelling from China, had begun making preparations to welcome large groups of Chinese tourists. She was surprised at the news, stating that it was beyond her company’s expectations, and felt that all their preparation efforts, like launching new tourism products, were in vain.

While there have been Chinese visitors since the border reopened, they have mainly been those arriving on business visas for business trip purposes. A pre-Covid policy that allowed Chinese visitors coming in groups to visit Quang Ninh for up to three days visa-free has also yet to be resumed.

China makes up a large proportion of tourists visiting Vietnam, with the pre-pandemic year of 2019 seeing 5.8 million arrivals from China, which made it Vietnam’s biggest source of foreign tourism that year. As a result, the Vietnamese tourism industry is eagerly awaiting the return of Chinese tourists, and they are ready in terms of human resources and services for the go ahead for normal travel between the two countries to resume.

, Disappointment As Vietnam Is Not Included on the List of countries China Will Resume Outbound Travel To, Disappointment As Vietnam Is Not Included on the List of countries China Will Resume Outbound Travel To

Ben Thanh Market is a large marketplace in central Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in District 1. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and an important symbol of Ho Chi Minh City, popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, ao dai and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine.

Vietnam may be waiting, but the other countries from the list, especially the tourist hot spots like Thailand and Indonesia, have already welcomed large groups of Chinese visitors for the first time in three years. Thailand, Southeast Asia’s second largest economy, is already predicted to welcome five million arrivals from China this year.

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Vietnam is a popular destination with people all over the world, and it was the fifth most visited country in the Asia-Pacific region back in 2019, when it welcomed 18 million international visitors. It is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary subterranean landscapes, dizzying metropolises and legendary cuisine, and its low cost of living makes it popular with digital nomads and expats alike.

While it is viewed as a pretty safe country to visit, Vietnam does have strict laws and customs, which are based on the long-standing culture and the characteristics of the local lifestyle. Many things that may seem like the norm in more Westernized countries, like gambling and playing casino games online, are illegal, and even internet use itself has restrictions. Punishments can be incredibly severe, including the death penalty for certain crimes like drug and sex offences. Despite this, it still seems to top many travelers’ bucket lists.

There are talks to resume travel soon between China and Vietnam, and the aviation industry is believed to be making arrangements to resume regular air routes between the two countries, expected to begin in March. While Vietnam has missed out on receiving an influx of Chinese tourists for February, forecasts are predicting that they could receive between 3 to 4.5 million visitors from China this year, which would be the equivalent of 50-80% of pre-pandemic levels.

It may have been popular pre-pandemic, but tourism in general in Vietnam is struggling to recover from the Covid-19 slowdown, with the first 10 months of 2022 seeing the country welcome just 2.4 million foreign visitors. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the news of China not including Vietnam on their latest list led to disappointment within the tourism industry there.

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Hopefully, the plans to resume travel between the two countries in March, and the forecasts for the number of Chinese visitors to the country this year, will be a much-needed boost for Vietnam and for those within the tourism sector.

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