Vietnam has grounds for complete reopening to int’l tourists from May: ministry
  • | VNA | January 25, 2022 11:29 AM

The positive initial outcomes of the pilot border reopening to foreign visitors have shown the tourism sector’s adaptability, an important basis for the culture ministry to propose the complete resumption of international travel activities from May, an official has said.

A couple from the Republic of Korea became the first foreign tourists arriving in Phu Quoc Island in November 2021 after COVID-19 had been brought under control (Photo: VNA)

Addressing a workshop on January 24, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung said tourism was identified as a spearhead industry greatly contributing to national development, about 10 percent of GDP before the COVID-19 pandemic started. However, the coronavirus outbreaks have taken a heavy toll on it, pushing the sector to stagnation.

Thanks to the Government’s green light, about 9,000 international travellers have come to Vietnam under a pilot scheme over the last nearly two months, he said, noting that the encouraging initial outcomes have proved Vietnam as a safe and attractive destination as well as the adaptability of the tourism sector.

As the country is now one of the 10 best performers in vaccination coverage and the inoculation campaign is being sped up so as to have all people of the targeted groups given the third dose of vaccines by March 30 this year, this is an opportunity to completely reopen the market, Hung went on.

He added from now to late March, relevant parties need to step up preparations for smoothly welcoming foreign tourists back while still ensuring safety.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung speaks at the workshop on January 24 (Photo: VNA)

The ministry proposed the pilot reopening continue until April 30 while international travel activities, including inbound and outbound tours, be fully resumed in the new normal from May 1.

It explained that it is an appropriate point of time for the move because if Vietnam delays the opening, the local attractiveness to global tourists will be undermined as many regional countries are also planning to reopen their borders. Meanwhile, the time from now to May is enough for relevant ministries and sectors to amend rules and issue guidance, and for travel companies to make arrangements.

In addition, Vietnam will host the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in May. The early announcement of the time for international tourism reactivation will help attract visitors from regional countries, which have had relatively large vaccination coverage.

At the workshop, some participants recommended the tourism market be completely reopened even before May 1.

Standing Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association Vu The Binh said the resumption of international travel activities is vital to the economy, adding that the effective pilot reopening, better COVID-19 prevention and control, along with a high vaccination rate have created high confidence that the official reopening can be carried out immediately.

He also called on the ministry to swiftly boost promotion programmes both at home and abroad./.

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