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)
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.
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
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
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./.