Travel firms have suggested making Covid-19 insurance compulsory for all inbound and outbound travelers as one of the solutions Vietnam needs to apply after it receives foreign travelers again.
A document released by the Government Office on January 9 showed that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has assigned the Ministry of Transport to consider resumption of routine commercial flights to other countries after the 2021 Tet holiday. This aims at the dual goal of both developing the economy while fighting the pandemic and satisfying citizens’ demand for travel.
The flights for overseas Vietnamese citizens coming to Vietnam will be implemented in Q1 2021.
The date is still unclear about receiving international travelers because the major COVID-19 hotbeds in the world are some of Vietnam's main tourism markets.
Experts said it is necessary to start preparing for the moment now, so as to receive travelers as soon as conditions permit.
Vo Anh Tai, deputy CEO of Saigontourist Group, said at a nationwide travel forum held days ago in Hai Phong City that medical insurance should be compulsory for inbound and outbound travelers.
This would ensure benefits and safety for travelers, travel firms and local authorities if tours have to be cancelled or postponed, or if travelers have to be examined and treated because of factors related to Covid-19.
In early March 2020, some insurance companies introduced insurance policies related to Covid-19. However, the Prime Minister in Instruction No 16 dated March 31 asked them to stop this.
In other countries, medical insurance programs related to Covid-19 have been offered, which cover expenses on hospitalization, examinations, treatment and medical care, and medical evacuation and repatriation.
Tai has also proposed amending provisions on cancellation of bookings for domestic and international tours.
France, for example, replaces refunds with vouchers or similar forms, which have value equivalent to a service in the future. Clients can ask for a refund for unused vouchers after 18 months. This helps reduce financial disputes and maintains demand for travel between clients and businesses, and between businesses in travel supply chains.
A report from the World Travel Organization showed that in November 2020, 59 percent of destinations in Asia Pacific closed completely and 9 percent closed partially, the highest level in the world. The figures were 7 percent and 67 percent in Europe, respectively, the lowest level.
In 2020, Vietnam received 3.8 million foreign travelers, a decrease of 79 percent compared with 2019. Of this, 96 percent of travelers came in the first quarter. Vietnam has not been open to inbound tourists since the second quarter.
For travel firms to survive the pandemic, they have had to undergo restructuring.
The forecast said that there are changes in consumer behavior trends in selecting the holiday destination and choosing forms of tourism in this year.