|International tourists visit Quang Nam Province before the coronavirus outbreak. VNAT has worked with some relevant agencies to discuss a plan to welcome international tourists from some countries back to Vietnam in the third quarter of the year.|
A representative of the administration under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism told the Saigon Times Online that after the prime minister had ordered the studying of the Covid-19 vaccine passport and the resumption of international flights, the ministry discussed the pilot plan with the relevant ministries and agencies.
The plan to welcome foreign visitors back to the country will be carried out in three phases, with the first phase focusing on a pilot scheme. In the second phase, the country will welcome a limited number of foreign tourists, while international travelers can arrive in Vietnam as normal in the third phase.
The resumption of international tourism must be implemented in a safe and appropriate manner, so in the pilot phase, it is necessary to prepare tourism infrastructure and solutions to approve some types of Covid-19 vaccines which are administered to the arriving foreign tourists.
In the global market, numerous Covid-19 vaccines have been produced, so each country has approved different vaccines for use. As such, the Ministry of Health must negotiate with tourism source markets to approve bilateral or multilateral vaccines, making it easier for international tourism to resume.
Choosing sites for receiving international visitors and picking tour operators for the pilot plan should be taken into account, according to VNAT.
Piloting the reopening of international tourism requires a safe corridor in the community, where foreign visitors will restrict contact with residents to prevent the potential spread of Covid-19 and guarantee the safety of residents.
As such, long-stay tours and seaside resort tours might be launched in the pilot phase instead of short-stay ones, apart from chartered flights being used to transport foreign tourists to ensure safety amid the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
“We have listed some areas in the country boasting favorable conditions to welcome foreign tourists back, but VNAT will work with the localities to get the nod first,” said the VNAT representative.
After one year of poor business, travel firms are expecting to welcome international tourists back and take local visitors to foreign destinations. However, the shortage of Covid-19 vaccines and some recent locally-transmitted cases have sparked concerns over the resumption of international tourism, affecting the international travel season at the end of the year.
On March 26, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that due to the rising global demand for Covid-19 vaccines, many countries are seeing limited supplies. The shipment of the AstraZececa Covid-19 vaccine set to be provided by Covax Facility will arrive in Vietnam three weeks late.
Nguyen Quoc Ky, chairman of Vietravel Holdings, said that the vaccine passport was a ray of hope for international tourism resumption, so the shortage of the vaccine would be a challenge for the recovery of tourism.