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Vietnam discusses opening door to international tourists

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When should Vietnam open its door to foreign tourists? The tourism industry alone cannot answer this question.

Vietnam discusses opening door to international tourists

On April 26, the Private Economic Development Research Committee under the Prime Minister’s Administrative Reform Advisory Council and the Tourism Advisory Council (TAB) shared with the local media some information related to a survey on the resilience of tourism businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government’s key role

Answering questions about welcoming foreign tourists, Mr. Hoang Nhan Chinh, Head of the TAB Secretariat, said: “The TAB strongly supports the Government’s policy on not exchanging Vietnamese people’s health for economic benefits.”

The TAB proposed that the Government and relevant authorities pay special attention to how Vietnam can reopen its borders in a safe and sustainable way.

Chinh noted that Vietnam should only open its door to international tourism when we can assure that visitors do not bring the virus to Vietnam and vice versa. Visitors must also be assured that they are not infected with disease when traveling to Vietnam or if there is a risk, they will be insured.

“The tourism industry alone cannot tell when and how to open the door for international visitors to Vietnam. Our point of view is that all parties should sit down to discuss and we must consider the interests of all, not only the interests of the tourism industry,” the TAB Secretariat’s chief said.

According to Chinh, Vietnam should learn lessons from other countries, both lessons of success and failure. The country will also need to create its own way suited to its capabilities.

He admitted that opening the door to foreign tourists is the desire of the tourism industry. Opening up will create jobs, increase revenue, and help Vietnam not lag behind other countries. If international tourists go to tourist markets of other countries, they will not come to Vietnam anymore.

Chinh emphasized the key role of the Government in making the decision.

Expect to gradually open from Q3

Ms. Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, Director of the Office of the Private Economic Development Research Committee, said that before the outbreak of Covid-19, revenue from international visitors was very high.

In 2019, the tourism industry contributed 9.2% of Vietnam’s GDP, employed about 2.2 million direct workers and a total of 4 million, including indirect laborers. In the same year, Vietnam welcomed 18 million international visitors, earning total revenue of $18.3 billion, accounting for 56% of total tourism revenue. Earnings from 85 million domestic visitors were estimated at $14.5 billion, or 44%

Thuy noted that losses of the tourism industry are not only from the absence of visitors but also from spending to maintain accommodation facilities.

According to Chinh, the specific time for the opening to international tourists depends on Vietnam’s preparation and ability to welcome international tourists in the context of Covid-19 pandemic, and the Covid-19 vaccination campaign in the country and in the partner countries. However, he expected that Vietnam can gradually open its door from the third quarter of 2021.

To prepare for the re-opening, Chinh said that it is necessary to establish a group or organization consisting of experts from different agencies and fields such as health, diplomacy, public security, national defense, culture – sports and tourism to discuss and set up the open-door criteria.

He noted that re-opening needs to be safe and done with a roadmap. The consultant team has suggested tasks to prepare for the re-opening.

First, conduct bilateral negotiations with each country that has already met the disease safety criteria; introduce disease safety policies such as requirement for immunization passports; and require Covid-19 PCR test before flying and arrival check.

Second, the government should have a compulsory travel health insurance policy, which includes Covid-19 insurance for all international tourists to Vietnam and Vietnamese tourists traveling abroad. Covid-19 insurance is needed to ensure the rights and safety of travelers, travel agencies and local authorities if there is tour cancellation or delay. It also ensures medical inspection, treatment, evacuation and repatriation.

Third, the Ministry of Finance should allow insurance firms in Vietnam to sell travel insurance products related to Covid-19 like other epidemics as prescribed by law. The tourism industry needs to develop a process to welcome and serve tourists safely.

Fourth, it is recommended that all hotel and restaurant staff, as well as those working at the tourism and heritage sites and other tourist sites, are prioritized for vaccination.

“We affirm that a vaccine passport is not considered the only and most important solution. This is just one of the solutions to ensure safety. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet recognized vaccine passports. Therefore, we do not want the Government of Vietnam to see the vaccine passport as the only safety measure, but to have an overall look,” Chinh said.

Thu Hang

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/travel/vietnam-discusses-opening-door-to-international-tourists-730951.html

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October: The golden time for Phu Quoc tourism

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The success in welcoming the first international visitors to Phu Quoc Island is expected to have a huge media impact.

Tháng 10 mơ ước, đừng bỏ lỡ 'thời điểm vàng'

In late May 2020, tourism experts proposed opening some islands in Vietnam such as Phu Quoc and Con Dao to international tourists but the proposal never launched. This time, the plan to welcome international visitors with vaccine passports to Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang Province has been approved by the Prime Minister. The island is expected to have the first guests in October.

Duong Mai Lan, Director of Ascend Travel, says that this is a very good direction to quickly restore the tourism industry of Vietnam in general and Phu Quoc in particular. Opening the door for guests with a vaccine passport has been done by many countries and this is considered the only solution for the tourism industry at the moment.

Tran Quoc Vu, CEO of Vtravel Vietnam, General Secretary of the Tourism Association of Kien Giang Province, said that accepting the vaccine passport is the way for countries to reopen, restore aviation and tourism industries, and create a push to develop related service industries.

However, the localities open for international tourists must also achieve herd immunity, with at least 70% of local people receiving two doses of Covid-19 vaccine. Up to now, no locality in Vietnam, including Phu Quoc – which is allowed to welcome international arrivals in October – has achieved it.

Therefore, Nguyen Tran Hoang Phuong, Chairman of Golden Smile Travel, said that this is a golden time for Phu Quoc to accelerate vaccinations.

Nguyen Ngoc Toan, Director of Images Travel Company (specializing in serving European tourists), told VietNamNet that people who prefer resort tours are mainly Russian and Eastern European visitors. They often travel in November-December so it is suitable for Vietnam to begin welcoming foreign tourists in October or November.

Toan noted that this plan should be carried out as soon as possible. Initially, instead of organizing many flights a day, only 2-3 flights per week will be enough so that tourists will be served well.

He cited Thailand’s Sandbox program as a good example for Vietnam. When the first visitors arrived at Phuket airport, it was news on major global media outlets.

Ngoc Ha

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/travel/october-the-golden-time-for-phu-quoc-tourism-775387.html

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Vietnam has two new UNESCO-recognized biosphere reserves

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Vietnam has two new UNESCO-recognized biosphere reserves

Nui Chua world biosphere reserve in Ninh Thuan Province overlooks Vinh Hy Bay. Photo courtesy of the biosphere reserve


UNESCO has designated the Nui Chua National Park in Ninh Thuan Province and Kon Ha Nung Plateau in Gia Lai as global biosphere reserves.

The two were among 20 new sites approved at the ongoing session of the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program in Nigeria.

New biosphere reserves are designated each year to promote sustainable development, protect terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems and encourage conservation.

The two new sites take the number of global biosphere reserves in Vietnam to 11, one of the highest in the world. In Southeast Asia, it is second only to Indonesia (19).

Other sites approved this year are in Canada, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Peru, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and Uzbekistan.

Situated at a height of 1,000 meters above sea level, Nui Chua National Park is seen as a green lung of the central Ninh Thuan Province. It has over nearly 20,000 hectares of primeval forests and is home to 300 animal species and 600 plant species.

Kon Ha Nung Plateau, around 400 km to Ninh Thuan’s north, includes the two core zones of Kon Ka Kinh National Park and Kon Chu Rang Nature Reserve that cover 65,000 hectares. It has hundreds of animal and plant species, including rare ones like the gray-shanked douc langur.

There are now 727 UNESCO biosphere reserves in 131 countries and territories.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/travel/places/vietnam-has-two-new-unesco-recognized-biosphere-reserves-4357234.html

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Sin Suoi Ho a “golden spring” in Lai Chau

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Visiting Sin Suoi Ho at any time of the year, tourists will be fascinated by the beautiful natural landscape and the Mong’s traditional customs. 

The place has now become a bright spot for community-based tourism which helps bring positive changes to the lives of the locals. Join us to find out more!

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VNA

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/travel/sin-suoi-ho-a-golden-spring-in-lai-chau-772020.html

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