Vietnam has taken some baby steps on its quest to reopen the country for international tourists by first allowing visitors on package tours to enter the Phu Quoc and other parts of the country.
The country last month started to allow arrivals with a three-day quarantine before being allowed to roam freely. Neither of these initiatives has resulted in an influx of tourists.
Now, the country’s Prime Minister demands that the government fully reopens by the end of March or no later than April.
Visitors would require being fully vaccinated, having a pre-departure PCR-RT test, and having travel insurance with a minimum of $50,000 coverage that includes Covid-related care.
The country has attracted less than 9,000 tourists since November, when the limited arrivals were allowed. Half of these tourists are overseas Vietnamese that came to visit their families. Not sure what the other half consists of (likely no “real” tourists).
Here’s an excerpt from VNExpress (access their article here):
Vietnam must be prepared to safely reopen tourism, ideally at the end of March and no later than the end of April, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said Thursday.
Previously, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed for Vietnam to completely reopen tourism starting March 31 to receive international tourists and let people travel abroad through all channels.
With borders closed, the number of foreign arrivals plunged by 96 percent last year, and the effects on the hospitality and tourism industries were predictable.
Vietnam has tried to build up Phu Quoc to rival Phuket, but it is not happening anytime soon.
Vietnam is, however, an exciting destination with some communism left in Hanoi, while Ho Chi Minh is as commercial as any other Asian city.
I don’t think there will be much of a surge of visitors to Vietnam when the border opens up. It, however, helps Vietnamese and those with ties to the country to travel more freely.