Tourists travel by boats in Thung Nắng (Sunshine Valley), a flooded area next to the popular tourist destination Tam Cốc-Bích Động in the northern province of Ninh Bình. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Đức
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam recorded only 88,200 international visitors in the first half of 2021, plunging 97.6 per cent year on year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
The GSO attributed the nosedive to the continuation of COVID-19 prevention and control measures, including the closure of borders for international tourism, noting that most of the foreign arrivals are experts and technical workers performing duties at projects in Việt Nam.
During the period, the number of Asian visitors fell 97.2 per cent year on year but still made up 88 per cent of all international arrivals. Sharing the same trend, those from Europe plummeted 99 per cent, the Americas 99 per cent, Oceania 99.4 per cent, and Africa 94.5 per cent.
The Politburo has recently approved the consideration of welcoming foreign visitors with “vaccine passports” to some tourism hubs able to control COVID-19 transmissions like the island city of Phú Quốc in Kiên Giang province on a trial basis.
At a recent meeting with Deputy Minister of Health Đỗ Xuân Tuyên, Kiên Giang Province People’s Committee proposed a pilot “closed quarantine tourism” model for foreign travellers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
It also suggested vaccinating the entire population of Phú Quốc within 2021 to ensure safety for local residents and staff at tourist sites when the resort island opens for international guests.
Tourism is a key industry of Phú Quốc, which has seen annual growth of 28 per cent in the total visitor number and over 45 per cent 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 per cent and 76.1 per cent year on year in 2020, respectively. — VNS