A meeting was held on February 15 to discuss the plan to reopen tourism activities in the context of safe, flexible adaptation to and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam in the chair.
It aims at collecting opinions of ministries, agencies and enterprises on a roadmap for resuming the activities in the new normal.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung emphasised that the reopening of tourism under new normal conditions must be based on Vietnam's reality, and refer to the experience of some countries in the region and around the world.
Accordingly, the pilot programme for welcoming international tourists, which was implemented from November 2021 to February 10, has had positive results. Nearly 9,000 international tourists were welcomed while safety was ensured, leaving a good impression on them. Therefore, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST) has agreed to allow all eligible localities to serve international visitors.
Regarding the issuance of entry visa, Vietnam has exempted visas unilaterally for 13 countries and bilaterally for 88 countries and territories. However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 since 2020 and the developments of the pandemic in other countries, the Government has decided to stop the visa exemption mechanism.
Ministries and agencies have proposed the Government resume the visa issuance for international tourists including electronic visa, unilateral and bilateral visa exemption as from March 15. There’s no need for international tourists to register with their tour operators when arriving in Vietnam but they will be required to meet the Ministry of Health (MoH)’s regulations.
According to Phan Trong Lan, head of the Preventive Medicine Department under the MoH, international tourists under 11 years of age are not required to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
International guests aged 12 and over must receive at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccine with the second dose injected no more than 6 months, or have a certificate of COVID-19 recovery issued by a competent authority within 6 months and recognised by Vietnam.
Foreign arrivals must have a certificate of a negative SARS-CoV-2 test result by RT-PCR technique issued within 72 hours before entry or 24 hours for rapid test.
When entering Vietnam, they must install and use the health declaration application (PC-COVID) to make health declarations and monitor their health in accordance with local regulations.
Air passengers with suspected signs will be requested to take rapid COVID-19 tests after landing in Vietnam while others shall self-monitor health at the lodging facility within 24 hours and take rapid or RT-PCR tests within 14 days from the date of entry.
Ministries and agencies agreed with the MoCST that foreigners entering Vietnam must pay US$30 per person on average to enjoy the insurance benefits worth US$10,000 for COVID-19 treatment in Vietnam. In case a foreign tourist tests positive for the virus, the accommodation establishment will be responsible for working with health facilities and local authorities on quarantine and treatment for him/her.
Addressing the meeting, Deputy PM Dam noted that the tourism industry in particular and the country’s economy in general face many difficulties after two years struggling with COVID-19 pandemic. Each ministry and sector must bear responsibility in carrying out solutions to reopen tourism activities and ensure safety in pandemic prevention and control.
The MoCST is expected to collaborate with relevant agencies in providing guidance on the issue and submit to the Government for approval, he said.