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Significant milestones open up tourism in Vietnam

March 15 marks the time of fully opening to Vietnam’s tourism industry. Below are a number of important milestones in the process of opening Vietnam's tourism.

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January 1: Pilot restoration of international flight routes

In late 2021, Vietnam planned to restore international routes on January 1. At that time, the official document of the Ministry of Health, regardless of nationality, required a negative test result for SARS-CoV-2 before entry (except for children under 2 years old).

Visitors who were fully vaccinated, in the first 3 days from the date of entry, could not leave the house or come into contact with other people and had to have a PCR test on the 3rd day. If the result is negative for SARS-CoV-2, they must not leave the house or contact other people for 14 days.

Flight VN853 from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh (Cambodia) on January 1 was the opening flight for a plan to restore international routes.

On January 4, the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam granted permission for Vietnamese airlines to operate eight regular international routes under the pilot plan, including Japan, Taiwan (China), Singapore, Cambodia, the United States, South Korea, Laos, Thailand.

February 15 marked the milestone in that that traditional flight routes were restored to the way they were before Covid-19. Airlines began to increase flight frequency, opening up opportunities for recovery for inbound tourism (bringing international tourists to Vietnam) and outbound tourism (Vietnamese people going abroad) after 2 years of closure.

In the new stage, some tour operators specializing in outbound tours found it difficult to welcome guests due to barriers. Removing the restriction on the frequency of international flights was one thing, but restoring routes to other countries was another matter. For example, China has not yet agreed to accept regular commercial flights from Vietnam. Japan and South Korea have still restricted people from entering the country to prevent epidemics.

Inbound tourism faces certain difficulties, especially the disruption of supply chains to welcome international guests. Tour guides have changed jobs, restaurants have closed, tourist transport vehicles have degraded or been damaged because they have not been used for a long time.

After months of piloting the opening of tourism and exploiting international routes, nine provinces and cities in Vietnam welcomed only 9,000 international visitors.

March 15: Fully open to tourism

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam agreed with the proposal of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on reopening tourism activities under new normal conditions from March 15. Tourism businesses said this was the "light at the end of the tunnel" that they had been waiting for a long time.

During a press conference on February 21 of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed that the Government restore the visa-free policy as it was before 2020 and accept a quick test from visitors.

Specifically, in addition to meeting regulations on vaccination against Covid-19 or having a certificate of recovery from Covid-19, passengers by air can choose to have a valid PCR test taken 72 hours prior to entry or rapid test results valid for 24 hours before arrival in Vietnam.

After entry, they move directly to the registered addresses and are not allowed to interact with the community and need a quick test at the accommodation within 24 hours after entry. If the testing result is negative, visitors are free to participate in tourism activities.

On the morning of March 15, the Vietnamese Government issued a resolution on visa waivers for citizens from 13 countries namely Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Belarus.

Citizens of the above-mentioned countries will enjoy 15 days of visa-free travel in Vietnam beginning from their date of entry regardless of the kind of passport and entry purpose, on the basis of satisfying all conditions as prescribed by Vietnamese law.

Le Ha

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