Monday , December 11 2023

Vietnam to treat foreign and domestic tourists alike: deputy PM

Vietnam is determined to fully reopen tourism and will adopt measures to treat foreign and domestic tourists alike, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said Tuesday.

“We are not just reopening tourism but also international trade and international exchange from March 15, like before Covid-19.

“We will not treat foreign tourists and local people differently, in terms of pandemic precaution measures,” Dam said at a meeting over tourism reopening with leaders from the tourism and foreign affairs ministries.

Vietnam’s tourism reopening has followed a careful roadmap that took into account Vietnam’s Covid situation, he said.

The health and tourism ministries are supposed to announce new regulations for foreign tourists soon, and they are going to be simple, he said.

“Tourists traveling by air will need to be tested for Covid-19, but once they’re here, they will be treated like Vietnamese people.

“Road and sea travel will have a couple more rules.”

The news that Vietnam is reopening has sparked joy among aviation and tourism firms. However, they all expect that the authorities will come up with specific regulations within Tuesday.

Nguyen Manh Quan, permanent Deputy CEO of Bamboo Airways, said that whatever the regulations are, it is necessary to send comprehensive message to business community and foreign tourists that Vietnam is now open.

“We believe that all businesses have been ready and that message will support us in being a competitive destination,” he said.

Vietnam has announced to fully reopen to tourism on March 15, promising to let foreign tourists travel freely without having to book package tours.

Specific quarantine and entry rules have been much awaited by foreigners the past weeks.

Yet the government only announced earlier on Tuesday to resume immigration procedures as before the pandemic, including 15-day visa exemption for citizens from 13 countries, Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K.

Deputy PM Dam said Vietnam will continue to collect opinions from ambassadors and businesses in other countries to consider adding more countries to its visa exemption and e-visa policies.

Tran Nguyen, Sales Director of Sun Group, suggested that there should be immediate medical regulations and a review of each stage to possibly ensure the most thorough and fastest recovery. She said that for now, it is no longer relevant to ask international visitors to follow all Covid-19 prevention protocols and only the rules of wearing masks and completing health declaration should be kept.

Regarding the policy to resume unilateral visa exemption for citizens from 13 countries, she said the policy should be valid for 30 days.

Vietnam closed its borders in March 2020. It partially reopened to tourists last November with a vaccine passport program and has attracted 10,000 arrivals since. But the program requires visitors to book package tours and stay within a resort or hotel, while many tourists like to travel around freely.

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