Saturday , September 30 2023

Areas with third vaccine dose coverage may receive international visitors: proposal

Areas which have finished giving its population their third Covid-19 vaccine doses may receive international tourists, several ministries proposed.

At a Monday meeting regarding plans to receive international tourists, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet said trial programs to receive international tourists in certain localities so far have had optimistic results.

Since November 2021, Vietnam has received around 8,500 international tourists, mainly from Russia, South Korea, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S., he added.

“Basically, the ministry would continue with its plan to resume tourism activities as normal at the Reunification Day holiday (April 30). If things go well, we can open things up even earlier,” he said.

Agreeing with Viet, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said there needs to be cooperation between authorities to put the coronavirus under control, especially when it comes to international tourists. The health ministry has already issued templates and procedures for a vaccine passport, but still requires cooperation from other ministries, he added.

“Besides their vaccine passports, international tourists also need to be tested. They should also stay back for a while at their first destinations, and travel in predetermined itineraries,” Son said.

Several officials at the meeting also said the health ministry needs to issue a new guidance to determine local coronavirus risk levels so there could be appropriate coronavirus measures upon resuming tourism activities. The health ministry also needs to provide instructions on testing international tourists who have already been fully vaccinated. Tourists may travel between tourist destinations with acceptable coronavirus risk levels, they said.

Tour agencies with international visitors may adjust their itineraries and destinations, but they must inform authorities of the changes. Tourists may also stay in Vietnam for extended periods, instead of only for one week per existing policies.

Several ministries have also requested conducting flights to repatriate Vietnamese abroad home, and to vaccinate those who haven’t been vaccinated.

Vietnam began its trial program to receive international visitors on package tours in November 2021, starting with 29 tourists going to Hoi An. So far, seven localities have had trial programs to receive international tourists: Phu Quoc Island of Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Dinh.

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