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Phu Quoc to inoculate entire population in bid to revive tourism

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The resort island Phu Quoc in southern Vietnam is planning to fully vaccinate its residents against COVID-19 by September to welcome the year-end foreign tourism surge, as part of a vaccine passport pilot programme.

Phu Quoc to inoculate entire population in bid to revive tourism hinh anh 1Gam Ghi Islet of Phu Quoc (Photo from the Vietnam National Adminstration of Tourism)

Kien Giang – The resort island Phu Quoc in southern Vietnam
is planning to fully vaccinate its residents against COVID-19 by September to
welcome the year-end foreign tourism surge, as part of a vaccine passport pilot
programme.

During a health ministry meeting with Kien Giang province’s leaders on COVID-19
prevention and control and vaccine passport pilot implementation in Phu Quoc
island city on June 26, Mai Van Huynh, Deputy Secretary of the Kien Giang Party
Committee, said the plan is to carry out the first phase of vaccination in July
and the second phase in September – with total time needed of about 16-18
weeks.

According to Huynh, it is estimated that 220,000 doses would be needed to fully
inoculate the entire population of Phu Quoc. The budget reserved for the doses
would be 29.3 billion VND (approx. 1.27 million USD) if the AstraZeneca
COVID-19 vaccine were to be used, or 40.3 billion VND (approx. 1.749 million
USD) if the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were to be used.

The vaccination plan will be immediately carried out once the vaccines are
delivered, he said.

Fully-vaccinated Russian tourists, which made up a large part of the visitors
to Phu Quoc pre-pandemic, would be the first to be welcomed to the island in a
“closed tourism model”, where they would stay at a resort and
movements are restricted. The model will be reviewed and tourists from other
countries with high coverage of COVID-19 vaccine could then be allowed in as
well.

The reopening to foreign tourism however necessitates enhancing medical
capacity for the city when healthcare infrastructure here remains limited, in
order to ensure safety and health for residents and tourists.

Deputy Health Minister Do Xuan Tuyen proposed setting up two centres for
treating seriously-ill COVID-19 patients in Kien Giang – one at the provincial
General Hospital and one on Phu Quoc island.

Tuyen wants all involved agencies to work with the local authorities to build a
plan on vaccine passports to submit to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh for
review before July 15.

Previously, the Government Office sent a document to the Ministry of Health and
the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, ordering “rapid” study
and piloting of a ‘vaccine passport’ mechanism for foreign arrivals to some
popular tourism destinations where COVID-19 outbreaks could be contained such
as Phu Quoc island.

The health ministry is asked to build plan on inoculating the residents –
including children – to reach herd immunity within a detailed roadmap, before
the vaccine passport can be implemented.

Tourism is the mainstay of Phu Quoc‘s economy. In 2020, tourists to the island
dropped 30.6 percent compared to 2019, with international tourists plunging
even further – 76.1 percent – due to border closures./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/phu-quoc-to-inoculate-entire-population-in-bid-to-revive-tourism/203710.vnp

Travel

Russian visitors book winter tours to Vietnam: travel agencies

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Russian visitors book winter tours to Vietnam: travel agencies

Russian tourists at a swimming pool of a resort in Khanh Hoa Province, 2019. Photo courtesy of Anex Vietnam


Travel companies revealed tens of thousands of Russians have booked tours to Khanh Hoa for their winter holiday as Vietnam prepares to welcome back foreign visitors.

Khanh Hoa, home to famous beach resort towns Nha Trang and Cam Ranh, is one of five localities allowed to welcome fully immunized foreign tourists starting November along with Kien Giang, Quang Nam, Da Nang and Quang Ninh as part of the country’s roadmap to gradually resume international tourism.

A representative of Khanh Hoa-based travel company Anex Vietnam said it has worked with partners like Russia’s largest charter airline Azur Air and tour operator Anex Tour Russia to prepare to bring Russian tourists back to Khanh Hoa.

The anonymous representative said dozens of thousands of Russians have already booked tours to Khanh Hoa this winter through the company.

The agency is expected to welcome approximately 6,000 Russian tourists a month during the first three months of a trial program, with the figure forecast to increase to 12,000 per month later.

During the pilot phase from three to five months, the company would focus on tourists with a vaccine passport from Moscow, Novosibirsk, and Vladivostok, who are all required to book a tour package.

The tourists would arrive in Khanh Hoa on charter flights to stay at least seven nights at a designated resort on Long Beach in Cam Lam District, around 10 kilometers from Nha Trang. During this period, they would only be allowed to visit limited areas inside the resort with restricted movement.

After the seven-day period, if tourists show a negative test result for Covid, they will be granted permission to visit, eat, and shop at other locations in the tour program.

Anex Vietnam has signed reservation contracts for three-to-five-star rooms at Cam Ranh Riviera Beach Resort & Spa, Selectum Noa Resort Cam Ranh, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, The Anam Resort and Vinpearl Resort & Spa Long Beach to serve Russian visitors.

Le Van Nghia, director of Nhat Minh Tourism JSC, also affirmed that thousands of Russian tourists have booked tours to Khanh Hoa through the company and its partners based in Russia.

Nghia said his agency plans to cooperate with Russian carrier Siberia Airlines to organize six weekly charter flights for Russian tourists to stay at sequestered resorts on Long Beach in Cam Ranh from early December. They have all been fully vaccinated and are required to furnish a negative Covid result obtained within 72 hours before departure.

Representatives of Vietnamese travel companies said Russia exempts quarantine for tourists returning from Vietnam and that the country has been a favored destinations among Russians for many years.

Russians always have a long winter vacation, so they want to choose a destination in the tropics, with a mild climate and year-round sunshine like Vietnam. In addition to beaches in Nha Trang, Russian tourists are also interested in Phu Quoc, Phan Thiet and Da Nang.

Therefore, when the government agrees to reopen its door to foreign tourists, there will be no shortage of visitors, especially from the Russian market, travel agencies confirmed.

Khanh Hoa, famous for long, sandy beaches and high-end resorts, has basically brought the pandemic under control. Provincial authorities have sought government permission to allow fully vaccinated foreign tourists from November.

In 2019, the year before the onset of Covid, Khanh Hoa received over seven million tourists, half of them foreigners. Before the pandemic, Russia and China were the biggest feeder tourism markets of Khanh Hoa.

Vietnam closed its borders to foreign tourists and canceled all international flights in March last year due to Covid.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/travel/russian-visitors-book-winter-tours-to-vietnam-travel-agencies-4375962.html

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Adventure travel in Northeast: potential that has not been awakened

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Ha Giang, Cao Bang and Bac Kan have great potential to develop adventure tourism, from skydiving, cave exploitation and forest trekking to mountain climbing, cycling and off-road racing. But tourism remains underdeveloped there.

Adventure travel in Northeast: potential that has not been awakened

Before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, Dung and members of his group in Hoang Mai district in Hanoi often organized phuot (a slang word used by youth which means backpacking tourism, or trekking) trips once every three or so months.

All the members of the group share the passion to conquer tough destinations which require crossing forests and streams, or climbing over steep uphill mountains.

“We departed from Hanoi on Friday and returned on late Sunday and to work Monday,” Dung said.

Since they have taken a lot of trips, they have experience in ensuring safety. They also hire local guides.

Adventure tourism is the choice of many travelers but people mostly organize trips themselves, hire locals to guide, and carry belongings and cook, rather than book tours at travel agents.

While adventure tourism and the tours to explore caves in the central region, especially in Quang inh, are designed in a professional way and attract many travelers, this type of tourism still cannot find a foothold in the Northeast. Travel firms mostly provide adventure tours in combination with traditional tours.

One of the reasons is the lack of high-quality workers. The tour guides are not well trained for adventure tourism.

The other reason is the competition among destination sites. To compete with other rivals, localities need to make higher investments to develop adventure tourism products.

Ha Giang is an example. While the potential of the locality is great, adventure tourism is still in the very early stage of development.

According to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the province only has two adventure tourism projects, including the paragliding project in Hoang Su Phi district and zipline project in Pa Piu resort in Bac Me district.

In Cao Bang, some individuals and groups have developed adventure tourism, but on a small scale. Since local authorities still haven’t set clear regulations, some establishments providing adventure tourism have had to stop operation.

The lack of tour guides is also a challenge. Very few local tour guides can satisfy demand. Most of them serve travelers as porters.

Cao Quoc Chung, Deputy Director of Vidotour Hanoi branch, said that adventure tourism in the Northeast is still fledgling. The region is still considered in a ‘depression’ in tourism. However, this can be an advantage of the region as the potential has been preserved.

A study by Research DIVE showed that the world adventure tourism market in 2019 had the value of $609 billion, while the figure is predicted to rise to $1.796 trillion by 2027, which means the annual growth rate of 15 percent.

Europe is the key market that Asian countries target, accounting for 30 percent of travelers to Asia. About 100 million European travelers book adventure tours each year, most of them from Germany and the UK.

However, there are still many things that need to be done. Cao Quoc Chung said transport infrastructure remains very poor.

Since travelers can only reach the localities by land, they have to spend 1-2 days on the way. Meanwhile, major investors have not turned up, so the products are unprofessional and unattractive.

There is also no active connection between the localities and prestigious organizations, media or enterprises to organize periodic adventure tourism products.

Local authorities still don’t pay appropriate attention to choosing and licensing adventure tourism projects. It seems that potential destination sites are still ‘hidden’.

Meanwhile, in some cases, local authorities made the wrong decision when choosing investors. Opportunities to develop adventure projects were given to undeserving investors, which harmed the ecological environment and the sustainability of the destination.

Chung cited an example, including the splitting of mountain to build Lung Cu Pagoda, the installing of a lift to serve visitors’ sightseeing and excursion at Don Cao Relic in Dong Van, and the Ma Pi Leng Panorama guest house in Meo Vac.

In order to develop adventure tourism in northeastern provinces, the Institute of Tourism Research has suggested strengthening cooperation between the Vietnam National administration of Tourism (VNAT), Vietnam Tourism Association (VTA) and local management agencies. 

Ngoc Ha

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/adventure-travel-in-northeast-potential-that-has-not-been-awakened-785149.html

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Phu Quoc to welcome int’l tourists with vaccine passports in November

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The People’s Committee of Kien Giang province on October 21 issued a pilot plan to welcome international tourists using “vaccine passports” to Phu Quoc Island beginning November 20.

Phu Quoc to welcome int’l tourists with vaccine passports in November hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Kien
Giang
– The People’s Committee of Kien Giang province on
October 21 issued a pilot plan to welcome international tourists using
vaccine passports” to Phu Quoc Island beginning November
20.

The plan
aims to gradually restore the international tourism market, ensure security in
tourism activities, and contribute to socio-economic development targets set
for 2021.

The
provincial People’s Committee requests all international tourists to have a
vaccine passport and strictly comply with epidemic prevention measures in Vietnam.

At
least 90 per cent of the population and workers in Phu Quoc have to be fully
vaccinated in order to be ready to welcome international guests in the
future. 

The
pilot plan will be implemented in two phases within the course of six
months. 

Specifically,
from November 20, a number of charter flights will go to Phu Quoc for
authorities to test the process of picking up and serving guests. 

Based
on the experience, authorities will then evaluate the plan’s feasibility,
make adjustments if necessary, and follow the official roadmap from December 20
onwards.

During
the first phase from December 20 to March 20, Phu Quoc will welcome 3,000 to
5,000 tourists per month via charter flights and allocate private experiences
within limited locations and areas for guests.

The
second phase, which starts from March 20, 2022 to June 20, 2022, involves
evaluation of the first phase and a scale of 5,000 to 10,000 guests per month
if all requirements are met.

With
regards to the target audience, international tourists will be allowed to
visit from countries and territories with high safety in COVID-19 pandemic
prevention.

They
will enter Phu Quoc International Airport via charter flights with a
certificate of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a proof of COVID-19
recovery recognised by relevant authorities in Vietnam.

Injection
of the second shot must have been done at least 14 days before and
no more than 12 months from the day of arrival. Visitors who have
recovered from COVID-19 have to submit proof that their discharge
from the hospital to the date they enter Phu Quoc has not exceeded
six months.

In
addition, an English certificate of negative COVID-19 test results via the
RT-PCR method within 72 hours before departure must be prepared by visitors.

Children
under 18 years old with a valid negative COVID-19 test result are allowed to
travel to Phu Quoc with a fully vaccinated parent or guardian.

Visitors
to Phu Quoc must have a return air ticket and register to participate in
a package tour programme with health insurance from a travel agency
proposed by Kien Giang province. 

Kien
Giang province has created a backup plan and set up a testing and
isolation zone for 2,000 people. Preparation of COVID-19 treatment capacity for
1,000 people is part of the plan as well.

All
workers involved in the process of welcoming and serving visitors will be
trained in safety measures in COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/phu-quoc-to-welcome-intl-tourists-with-vaccine-passports-in-november/210247.vnp

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