Foreign visitors to Phu Quoc, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Da Nang and Quang Ninh – localities selected in a pilot reopening programme – will not have to quarantine from next month as long as they test negative for SARS-CoV-2.
They will also need to book a combo of air tickets, COVID-19 testing, hotel and registered destinations.
According to a proposal by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on a pilot programme for foreign tourists beginning in November, those visiting Vietnam for seven days will be tested as soon as they arrive. If negative, they could avoid a quarantine period.
However, they have to commit to staying with their group, not leaving arranged locations and minimising contact with people from other tour groups.
People on tours lasting more than seven days will be tested again on the 7th day of their trip. They are allowed to visit destinations that are open to foreign tourists under the pilot programme, with the full combo booked in advance.
Under the pilot programme for foreign tourists, they could spend a maximum of 90 days in Vietnam.
If tourists want to visit locations that are not included in the pilot programme, they have to register with tourism agencies, informing authorities in the host localities for health monitoring and quarantine.
Under the ministry’s proposal, foreigners and overseas Vietnamese have to have a vaccination certificate or COVID-19 recovery certificate recognised by Vietnam’s authorities.
Before entering Vietnam, they must have received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days and no longer than 12 months before arrival. COVID-19 recovery certificates within 12 months before entry are accepted.
Travellers are also required to have a certificate proving they are negative for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR/RT-LAMP within 72 hours prior to departure. They must have travel insurance that covers COVID-19 with a minimum liability of 50,000 USD, and must purchase a tour package from a travel agency.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is temporarily recognising 'vaccine passports' of 72 countries and territories, and is in discussions with nearly 80 others on mutual recognition for the 'vaccine passport'.
These measures will help Vietnam reopen international tourism activities, contributing to promoting related economic sectors and fields.
According to businesses, although facilities to receive international visitors are ready, they are waiting for instructions from the management agency.
Procedures for foreigners on entry, publication of vaccination certificate forms or "vaccine passports" of countries and territories recognised by Vietnam and procedures to solve problems during the tours related to COVID-19 infections have not yet been published.
Vietnam plans to welcome international visitors from November this year. The first phase starts from next month only for those using combo packages and visits several select destinations.
The second phase starting from next year expects to see more international air routes and more destinations re-opened.
In the third phase, full re-opening will be decided based on the pandemic development and the results of the two previous phases.
At a quarterly press conference of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on October 28, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Pham Van Thuy said that it was necessary to reopen the tourism sector at this time after companies have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry and tourism administration will co-operate with Kien Giang province to prepare for receiving international tourists later this month.
Everyone in Phu Quoc island district has received a first dose of vaccine and the second dose is currently being rolled out.
Phu Quoc authorities arranged safe destinations to host visitors as well as developed plans to respond to visitors testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. People travelling to Phu Quoc by air will be from places that have controlled the pandemic like those in Northeastern Asia, Europe, the US and Australia.
Thuy said that the tourism administration is working with Vietnam’s diplomatic agencies in tourism promotion to attract more visitors to Phu Quoc.
After a tourism reopening pilot programme in Phu Quoc, tourism authorities would draw lessons and expand to other destinations like Ha Long, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Da Lat, he said.
The administration also developed a digital tourism map which was integrated into the app “Du lịch Vietnam an toàn” (Vietnam safe tourism) in which people could find information about safe hospitals and clinics.
The administration would soon introduce a tourism hotline 1039 and app VTV Travel as well as digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates at https://travelpass.tourism.vn to facilitate reopening of international tourism./.