Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vietnam set to welcome back tourists after two-year hiatus

Vietnam set to welcome back tourists after two-year hiatus

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Passengers at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport. Vietnam’s tourism businesses are ready to welcome back foreign tourists. VIET NAM NEWS

Vietnam set to welcome back tourists after two-year hiatus

Almost two years on from the border being shut, Vietnam’s tourism sector is ready to welcome back foreign tourists from next month.

In an effort to accelerate economic recovery and revive the tourism sector, the government last week decided to fully reopen its borders to foreign tourists from March 15, about three months earlier than previously planned.

On February 21, domestic airlines were allowed to resume regular international flights. Restrictions on flight frequency, quarantine and testing requirements were abolished or loosened. Tourists now only need to have a certificate showing a negative Covid-19 test result (test taken within 24 hours prior to arrival in case of rapid test, or 72 hours in case of RT-PCR test).

This policy is in line with other Southeast Asian countries that are planning to fully reopen their borders.

According to Dinh Viet Thang, general director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, now is a good time to open as it not only facilitates airlines to restore and re-use their existing capacity, but also presents them an opportunity to access new markets at a time when not all international airlines have resumed their full services.

“If we are slow at this stage, waiting a few more months for when airlines simultaneously restore their routes, it will be very difficult for latecomers,” Thang said.

Last week, Thai tourism businesses called on the government to declare Covid-19 an endemic disease and fully reopen the country to international tourists by lifting all restrictions from next month on fears that if not doing so, the country may lose their ability to compete with other nations in the region.

On February 1, the Thai government resumed their Test & Go programme, allowing foreign tourists to visit the country without quarantine as long as they take a negative Covid test on the first and fifth day of their trip.

On February 10, the Philippines opened their borders to vaccinated tourists and business travellers, without a quarantine requirement.

Other nations such as Malaysia, Singapore and Japan are also considering resuming border reopening after a pause due to the Omicron outbreak.

April used to be a busy time for the Asian tourism industry, as Western tourists usually like to travel to Asia during the Easter holidays.

Around the world, several countries including Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the UK have cancelled almost all of their Covid curbs.

According to experts, if Asian countries are late in reopening their doors, international tourists may lose interest in the region and turn to other destinations.

“Vietnam is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that opened [its] border quite early and this is a golden opportunity for our tourism industry,” Le Hong Thai, deputy director of Hanoi Tourist, told Viet Nam News.

“It can’t be said that we will have tourists right after we open the border and the number of visitors can be the same and even more than before the pandemic broke out in 2019. However, if we have good preparation and promotion, I think in a short time, maybe one or two years, it’s possible for the tourism industry to recover to near the level it was at in 2019,” Thai said.


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