Eleven airlines and travel firms have called on the government to announce by early February the timeline for fully reopening the country to foreign tourists.
Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Bamboo Airways, Pacific Airlines, Vietravel Airlines, Hai Au Aviation, Vietravel, Saigontourist, Thien Minh Group, Sun Group, and BIM submitted a petition with the demand to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
The reopening could be in late March or April but the announcement should be made early enough so that travel, hospitality and aviation businesses have enough time to make preparations, it said.
The resumption in tourism would also help save the aviation and travel industries and rescue 2.5 million tourism workers from a crisis that has lasted two years since Covid-19 broke out in January 2020, it said.
It wanted the government to scrap restrictions for foreign tourists and allow vaccinated ones free entry and movement.
Now tourists are only allowed to travel in the vicinity of their hotel.
Nguyen Vu Hoang, director of marketing and communication at Vietravel Airlines, said half the company’s employees have switched to other jobs to earn a living, and this situation could lead to a shortage of human resources in the airline industry in future.
With borders closed, the number of foreign arrivals plunged by 96 percent last year, and the effects on the hospitality and tourism industries were predictable.
In November the government started allowing in foreign tourists under the vaccine passport program and 8,500 have come so far.
Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Quang Nam, Quang Ninh, and Binh Dinh provinces and HCMC and Da Nang City are the only localities they are allowed to visit.
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