The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has backed the travel industry in proposing that tourism resumes fully from March 31 instead of the early May it had previously planned.
In a proposal submitted to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh Saturday, the ministry said this would be an appropriate time for full tourism reopening as Vietnam would have completed its booster shot vaccination campaign to facilitate herd immunity.
“If the country is slow in reopening, it would lose its opportunity to attract foreign tourists as many regional countries have already restarted their international tourism,” the ministry noted.
Earlier, the ministry had planned the full tourism reopening from May 1, but major airlines and travel firms called for an earlier reopening, fearing that the industry would miss out on recovery opportunities.
Eleven airlines and travel firms last week petitioned the government to announce by early February the timeline for fully reopening the country to foreign tourists.
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 foreign tourists in under a vaccine passport program. So far, 8,500 foreign arrivals have been welcomed under the program with several pre-set conditions and constraints, half of them Vietnamese overseas coming to see their relatives.
Under the program, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Quang Nam, Quang Ninh, and Binh Dinh provinces and HCMC and Da Nang City are the only localities foreign tourists can visit.
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