Vietnam, known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, said it would reopen Phu Quoc Island to foreign tourists who have been vaccinated from November 2021.
The report stated that Vietnam already reopened Phu Quoc Island to vaccinated tourists from November and would reopen its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Nha Trang Beach, Halong Bay, Hoi An and Da Lat from December.
As the Southeast Asian country steadily rebuilds its tourism sector amid the pandemic, Vietnam has been welcoming foreign tourists since November for the first time since spring 2020. More than 200 foreign tourists arrived on the largest island of Phu Quoc in Vietnam on Saturday, which was the first country in Southeast Asia to visit after nearly two years of border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The flights anticipated Vietnam’s plans to open the tourist island of Phu Quoc to vaccinated foreign visitors on November 20, hoping to welcome at least 5,000 travelers in the coming months.
There are currently no special benefits for vaccinated travelers in Vietnam. Vietnam’s National Tourism Administration is working with relevant agencies on a proposal to welcome vaccinated foreign tourists to the country. Vietnam is considering introducing vaccine passports for three groups of vaccinated people (Vietnamese overseas, foreign business travelers and foreign travelers).
It has not been announced when the other current restrictions on entry to Vietnam for foreigners will be lifted. Although no new tourist visas have been issued for Vietnam at the moment, the country has extended temporary residence to foreigners who entered the country after March 1, 2020.. Upon arrival at the airport, tourists undergo a medical examination and install the IGOVN and PC-COVID applications on their phones before leaving for check-in at the hotel.
Only travelers from countries classified as low-risk for COVID-19 in Vietnam can visit Phu Quoc Island through programs that include the United States, Australia, and countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Northeast Asia.
Nguyen Trung Khanh, director of the Vietnam National Tourism Administration (VNAT), said the industry plans to welcome tourists from countries and regions that have effectively responded to the epidemic. The country negotiated with Australia, New Zealand and Thailand to open separate resorts to foreign tourists to ensure their safety.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) notice outlines two stages of border opening, as well as plans to end quarantine for all fully vaccinated travelers entering the country. Vietnam won’t fully open its borders until next summer, but plans to host several vaccinated tourists to major cities by December.
Vietnam, which has vaccinated more than half of its 98 million population, plans to resume international commercial flights from January next year and expects all tourism to reopen from June.
Vietnam is the last Asian state open to fully vaccinated visitors. The move follows similar steps taken by neighboring Thailand, which hosted foreign tourists vaccinated for non-quarantine holidays earlier this month. Aside from the suspension of overseas travel, the impact in Vietnam has been relatively minimal.
The country was poised to reopen beaches and golf resorts around Da Nang to South Koreans and low-risk travelers from other countries through travel bubble deals. According to local news, fully vaccinated Russian tourists will be the first to be met in the country.
Through strict border controls, the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the country has remained low in the Asia-Pacific region, which lags behind Europe and North America in resuming international travel, even in regions where vaccination is coming.
But now, after multiple regional epidemics in countries such as India, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines, the Vietnamese government is reluctant to take risks. Vietnam implemented strict border controls at the beginning of the pandemic to keep Covid-19 out, and achieved some initial success, but it harmed its booming tourism industry, which usually accounts for about 10% of GDP.
Vietnam is expected to determine specific destinations for receiving vaccinated foreigners, while residents of those places are being vaccinated against Covid-19 to boost herd immunity.
The country plans to reopen major travel destinations to vaccinated visitors from countries deemed to be at low risk of COVID-19 starting in December, ahead of a full recovery expected next June.