|The first international tourists arriving at Cam Ranh international airport. — VNA/VNS Photo Phan Sáu|
KHÁNH HOÀ — The central coastal province of Khánh Hoà, home to famous beach towns Nha Trang and Cam Ranh, welcomed the first international tourists with vaccine passports on Thursday, after a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The visitors, who are Americans and Canadians of Vietnamese origin, took a Bamboo Airways flight from Seoul, the Republic of Korea (RoK).
After their arrival, they were transported to a lodging facility in Nha Trang and tested for COVID-19.
Khánh Hoà is one of the five localities, together with Kiên Giang, Quảng Ninh, Quảng Nam, and Đà Nẵng, selected to roll out the pilot 'vaccine passport' programme, which is divided into three phases.
In the first phase that starts this month, designated places and tourism facilities in Phú Quốc, Khánh Hoà, Quảng Nam, Đà Nẵng, and Quảng Ninh can receive foreign tourists within package tourism programmes arriving via either charter flights or international commercial flights.
In the second phase that takes effect from January 2022, the scale of the pilot plan will be expanded by connecting destinations through regular charter and international commercial flights.
The tourists can only participate in travel programmes that combine multiple destinations after completing their tours at the first destination within seven days.
Other localities will be added to the programmes later as long as the pandemic conditions permit and the local authorities submit proposals to welcome international tourists.
Việt Nam’s tourism market will fully open to international tourists in the last phase, the starting time of which will be based on the pandemic situation at the time and an evaluation of the two previous phases.
|Bamboo Airways and Khánh Hoà's local authorities welcomed the international arrivals. — VNA/VNS Photo Phan Sáu|
The plan will apply to foreign tourists and overseas Vietnamese arriving from Việt Nam’s key and potential tourism markets. They must prove that they are either fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, through certificates recognised by the authorities in Việt Nam. Children under 12 years old and accompanied by parents or guardians are exempt. For COVID-19 recovery patients, the time between being discharged from the hospital to the time of departure must not exceed six months.
Other conditions include negative RT-PCR/RT-LAMP COVID-19 test results from within 72 hours before departure, certified by the authority of the country conducting the test, and medical or travel insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment with a minimum liability of US$50,000.
Tourists that are part of the pilot programme must have their temperature regularly checked and use the IGOVN application during their stay. Masking is required but there will be no quarantine mandate.
On the first day of entry, tourists will be taken to an accommodation facility and be tested for COVID-19. They will continue their stay if the tests prove negative; otherwise, they will be taken to a medical facility and the cost will be covered by insurance or travel agency.
Within the first seven days, tourists must adhere to the schedule, ensuring pandemic prevention regulations and taking self-tests every two to three days. If symptoms such as coughs, fever, shortness of breath or sore throat develop, they must notify medical staff for screening tests.
After seven days, those who continue to stay in Việt Nam must test themselves for COVID-19 and can then travel to other localities within the programme if the results are negative. Those who want to see their relatives in Việt Nam need to register with their tour operators.
Việt Nam stopped receiving international visitors at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Since then, only allowed foreign experts and occasional repatriation flights have landed in the country. — VNS