Tourism industry prepares for reopening
The tourism industry is working hard to prepare for reopening on March 15, according to Nguyen Trung Khanh, director of Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
Khanh said the VNAT and local authorities were cooperating to revamp tourism facilities, which have been closed for two years.
The authority is also calling for more training programmes and supportive policies to lure back workers who left the industry during the pandemic.
It is also running the campaign “Live fully in Vietnam” and reaching out to international channels, including CNN and CNBC, to promote Vietnamese tourism to target markets.
The authority has also suggested the resumption of the pre-pandemic visa waiver policy for tourists from 24 countries.
Viet Nam has accepted vaccine passports from 79 countries so far, but only 14 countries have reciprocated on Vietnamese vaccine passports.
Khanh said the authority and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were working together to lift the number of countries accepting Vietnamese vaccine passports in the near future to reduce the disparity between inbound and outbound tourists.
He also stressed the need for tourism promotion via digital platforms, e-marketing, tourism fairs and other communication means, and underlined the quality of tourism products and services as the key to a better tourism industry.
“It is not price but the quality of tourism products and services that hold the key to a more competitive industry,” he said.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is consulting on new regulations to prepare for the reopening. According to the proposed regulations, foreign tourists can travel to Viet Nam by land, sea and regular international flights.
They will no longer be restricted to only charter flights as in the pilot programme.
Regarding compulsory medical insurance, the required minimum coverage will be reduced from US$20,000 to 10,000.
Foreign tourists travelling by air will be required to have negative RT-PCR tests within 72 hours or negative quick tests within 24 hours before their arrival.
After arrival, they must go straight from the airport to their accommodation where they must take quick tests within 24 hours.
Foreign tourists arriving by land and by sea will take quick tests on arrival at border gates.
If negative, tourists will be allowed to participate in tourism. Otherwise, they will be quarantined and treated at their accommodation.
In 2021, the industry served 40 million domestic tourists and 3,800 foreign tourists with vaccine passports.
"This year, the industry aims to attract 65 million tourists, including 5 million foreign travellers," the director said.
Viet Nam has so far reopened air routes to 20 countries and territories, compared to 28 in the 2019 winter flight schedule before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. They include Cambodia, Hong Kong (China), Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Taiwan (China), Thailand, Turkey, the UAE, Laos, mainland China, France, Germany, the UK, Australia, Russia, and the US.