The light at the end of the tunnel has begun to shine brightly for the tourism industry as Vietnam lifted all restrictions on international flights on Tuesday.
Dang Manh Phuoc, CEO of travel solutions firm Outbox Consulting, said the full resumption of international flights would be an important factor in reviving both inbound and outbound tourism.
“After nearly two years, this is how we return to the normal world,” Phuoc said.
Pham Ha, chairman of Lux Group, which offers inbound tourism services, said he has been awaiting “every hour and every day” for the resumption of international flights since it would be a positive sign and travel firms could make plans for welcoming back foreign tourists.
Since June last year his company has been working with overseas partners to draw up tour itineraries, but is waiting for the official announcement on the timeline for fully lifting curbs on international tourism.
Nguyen Cong Hoan, CEO of Flamingo Redtours in Hanoi, said the resumption of flights shows the international community that Vietnam is ready for the new normal.
“We have no limits on the number of flights, no limits for any markets. That’s a positive sign,” Hoan said.
Hoang Thuy Linh, deputy director of marketing and communications at HCMC tour operator Saigontourist, said her company has started selling tours to Thailand, the Maldives, Cambodia, and the U.S.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is seeking opinions from relevant agencies for a draft proposal to resume inbound tourism on March 15.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has reiterated there should be a full reopening of the country to foreign tourists ideally at the end of March but not later than April-end.
Travel agencies said foreign tourists need at least six months to make plans and the announcement of the reopening timeline should be quick so that firms have time to prepare for the peak summer travel season and SEA Games 31 scheduled in May.
Vietnam resumed regular commercial flights to the U.S. and Asian destinations on January 1 this year but with limited frequencies.
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