The Vietnamese government revealed on Wednesday that it plans to reopen major tourist destinations to fully vaccinated foreign visitors from countries it considers low risk for COVID-19, starting in December. This will herald a full reopening to international tourism which is slated for June 2022, according to CNN Travel.
Vietnam has put in place strict border controls early in the pandemic aimed at preventing COVID-19 from entering, and has been successful to some extent initially. Unfortunately, like several other Southeast Asian countries, its economy relies quite heavily on tourism, which normally generates around 10 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).
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The government announced in September that it would reopen the popular resort island of Phu Quoc to fully vaccinated foreign tourists from November, and that all residents of the island would also be fully vaccinated.
Vietnam will also start allowing tourists from approved foreign countries to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay, Ancient Hoi An City, Central Dalat Highlands City and Point hot coastal of Nha Trang.
So far, no indication has been given as to which foreign countries will meet Vietnam’s criteria for inbound travel.
“We are only open when it is really safe,” the government said in a statement. “We are moving step by step, cautiously but flexibly, to adapt to the real situations of the pandemic. “
This phased approach mirrors that of neighboring Thailand, which will reopen several key tourist destinations to vaccinated foreign travelers this month, including Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai. The Thai government has already piloted its step-by-step reopening program on the resort islands of Phuket and Samui.
Vietnam welcomed 3.8 million foreign arrivals in 2020, compared to the 18 million international visitors it welcomed in 2019. That year before the pandemic, the tourism sector generated $ 31 billion in revenue, or 12% of the country’s GDP.
Even as it tries to cautiously reconnect with the world and restart its tourism industry, Vietnam still struggles to increase its vaccination rate, which is only the lowest in Asia at 14.76 percent of its population of 98 million fully immunized to date. . The country has so far recorded 836,134 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 20,442 deaths.