|Foreign tourists visiting the Temple of Emperor Đinh Tiên Hoàng in the northern province of Ninh Bình before borders were closed. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Đức|
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has proposed that international arrivals to Việt Nam should be able to avoid any quarantine requirements, providing they are fully vaccinated, submit a negative RT-PRC test before flying and another negative rapid test after arrival. It is hoped that these steps would help the domestic tourism market recover after being decimated by two years of the COVID pandemic.
The document comes on the cusp Việt Nam’s highly anticipated resumption of inbound and outbound tourism activities (March 15), after a pilot vaccine passport programme began in late 2021.
The official document stated that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has actively coordinated with ministries and branches to develop a roadmap to reopen international tourism.
Based on the consensus of ministries and agencies, and in line with the instructions issued by Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, the submitted plan proposes Việt Nam welcome foreign tourists through international border gates by air, road, railway and sea with pre-pandemic visa and entry requirement.
This would mean unilateral visa exemptions for arrivals from 13 countries and territories – Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
With regards to COVID-19 protocols, tourists over 12 years old coming to Việt Nam would need certificates proving their status as fully vaccinated, which were approved or recognised by Vietnamese authorities, with the last dose administered no between 14 days and six months before the date of departure. They could also present certificates proving they have recovered from COVID-19 in the six months, issued by the countries where the treatment was conducted.
Proof of negative test result for SARS-CoV-2 (by RT-PCR/RT-LAMP method) within 72 hours before departure (except for children under two years old) would also be required for passengers entering via air. Entrants via land borders and sea routes would only need to have negative rapid antigen tests results.
For countries or territories with stricter demands, the protocols will follow the countries or territories of departure.
Tourists would also be required to have medical or travel insurance packages that cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment, with a minimum liability of US$10,000, as well as install Việt Nam’s COVID-19 app (PC-COVID) on their mobile devices and “maintain online connections” during their entire stay in the country.
Within 24 hours of entry by air, guests will need to take a SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen test at their accommodation. If the results are negative, they will be allowed to travel freely. If the results are positive then isolation measures and medical treatment according to regulations will be implemented.
To prepare the necessary conditions for the reopening of tourism activities, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism continues to coordinate with other ministries and local branches to organise events on tourism reopening, such as co-hosting a conference on safe and effective resumption of international tourism with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It will also coordinate with localities (Thanh Hoá, Quảng Ninh, Nghệ An, Vĩnh Phúc, Hải Phòng, Quảng Nam, etc.) to hold tourism stimulus programmes to welcome international guests.
The ministry will coordinate with key tourism localities in the southwest, southeast, central coastal region, northwest regions to arrange stimulus activities and restore tourism activities.
At the same time, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also directs tourism management departments, travel businesses, accommodation and tourism services to develop new products, communicate and promote tourism, and retrain human resources, to serve foreign visitors.
Up to now, the preparations of localities and businesses are ready to meet the requirements of opening and welcoming international tourists from March 15, 2022.
In addition, the ministry also noted that in the Southeast Asia region, several countries – Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines – have announced full reopening plans, including the resumption of visa incentives, and visitors entering under "vaccine passports" won’t need to undergo quarantine. — VNS