International visitors to Vietnam drop 97.6% y-o-y in H1

Vietnam recorded over 88,200 international visitors in the first half of 2021, plunging 97.6% year on year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said on June 29.

The GSO attributed the nosedive to the continuation of anti-COVID-19 measures, including the borders closed for international tourism, noting that most of the foreign arrivals are experts and technical workers performing duties at projects in Vietnam.

During the period, the number of Asian visitors fell 97.2% year on year but still made up 88% of all international arrivals. Sharing the same trend, those from Europe plummeted 99%, the Americas 99%, Oceania 99.4%, and Africa 94.5%.

The Politburo recently approved the consideration of welcoming foreign visitors with “vaccine passports” to some tourism hubs able to control COVID-19 transmission like the island city of Phu Quoc in Kien Giang province on a trial basis.

At a recent meeting with Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen, the Kien Giang People’s Committee proposed a pilot “closed quarantine tourism” model for foreign travellers who already got inoculated against COVID-19.

It also suggested vaccination for the entire population in Phu Quoc so as to ensure safety for local residents and staff at tourist sites.

Tourism is a key industry of Phu Quoc, which has seen annual growth of 28% in the total visitor number and over 45% in international arrivals. However, it has been hit hard since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out last year, with total tourists and foreign holidaymakers dropping 30.6% and 76.1% year on year in 2020, respectively.

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