The Ministry on November 5 issued fresh instructions for localities wishing to welcome the return of foreign travelers through a pilot scheme. It set some conditions for foreign visitors if they want to spend their holidays in the country.
First of all, foreign travelers must present a certificate to prove that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with the vaccines being recognised by competent Vietnamese authorities.
Secondly, visitors must show a negative COVID-19 test by the RTPCR/RT-LAMP method within 72 hours before departure. In addition, this certificate must be issued by competent authorities in the country where the test was performed.
Thirdly, visitors are required to have medical insurance in order to cover the cost of any COVID-19 treatment at a minimum spending level of US$50,000 in the event that they are infected with the virus.
Fourthly, visitors must follow package tours arranged by the travel agency.
Upon arriving in Vietnam, travelers will be tested on both the first and seventh days in the event that they book a tour of more than seven days. In all other cases, they are recommended to self-test every two to three days using a rapid test kit.
During the course of their stay, visitors are required to strictly follow Vietnamese COVID-19 guidelines and prevention measures, including wearing a face mask and avoiding large gatherings in public places.
For the time being, the pilot scheme will be implemented this month in Phu Quoc, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Da Nang, and Quang Ninh, all of which are home to internationally recognised tourist destinations.
Phu Quoc alone is set to welcome its first foreign visitors on November 20. The island city in the south has set a target of receiving between 3,000 and 5,000 foreign visitors in the first phase. Notably, overseas travelers to Phu Quoc are exempt from entry visas.
The Vietnamese Government has approved the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s proposal to reopen the country to international visitors through a three phase scheme, with the first phase starting in November, second phase from January 2022, and the third phase probably starting in June 2022.
Vietnam has closed its borders to foreign travelers since April 2020, when the SARS-CoV-2 virus initially spread rapidly across the country. It has since experienced four waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing a heavy blow to all local tourism services.
According to economic experts, Vietnam cannot keep its borders closed any longer or it will risk losing out to other regional countries in terms of economic and tourism development.
The country is currently transitioning into a stage of safe and flexible adaptation and effective control of COVID-19. Due to this shift in policy, the Government has allowed the tourism sector to welcome back foreign visitors from destinations with a high level of safety.
Tour operators have stated they are ready to receive the first foreign visitors as soon as detailed guidelines are issued.