|A corner at Singapore where attracts many Vietnamese tourists. Many people in Việt Nam are eagerly considering trips abroad after over two years of lockdown. — Photo courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board|
By Thu Ngân
Đỗ Minh Phương, 38, of HCM City is excited as she prepares the documents needed to apply for visas for her family to travel to France this summer.
The feeling is amazing after two years of having no chance to travel abroad due to COVID-19, she gushes.
Many of her friends and colleagues also plan to travel abroad this summer, she says, joking that “It feels like people are taking 'revenge' after two years.”
A month on from the reopening of the country’s borders, with airlines resuming services to foreign destinations, many people are eagerly considering trips abroad.
On Facebook, it has been common in recent months to see people posting images of their trips to the UK, UAE or Canada.
Mai Hoàng Đạt, a visa service provider and tour operator, says so many are applying for visas to the EU that his company has reached “full capacity” and he has had to stop accepting applications for May.
Besides the Schengen countries, Singapore is also a popular destination.
Thanh Tuyền of HCM City says she and her boyfriend booked tickets to Singapore immediately after the country reopened for quarantine-free travel by vaccinated people on April 1.
“I have to test for COVID in Việt Nam and fly to Singapore. I am so happy after two years of having no chance to travel abroad.”
At a recent event to launch the Singapore Reimage Reopening Campaigning to welcome Vietnamese, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in Việt Nam said: “Border measures and health measures are streamlined to facilitate safe and seamless travel. Under this new travel paradigm for quarantine-free travel, travellers can take any flight to Singapore and are not required to undergo testing on arrival.
“All fully vaccinated travellers and children aged 12 and below are able to enter Singapore with a pre-departure COVID-19 test.”
To meet the strong demand for business and tourist travel between both countries, airlines have fully resumed their services from Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng and HCM City to Singapore.
From HCM City, there are now around 50 flights a week to the island nation by at least five different airlines.
John Gregory Conceicao, executive director, Southeast Asia, STB, said: “We are delighted to welcome back visitors from Việt Nam. Việt Nam has always been an important visitor market for Singapore, and we are excited for them to experience our new and reimagined offerings.”
Klook, a leading travel and leisure e-commerce platform for experiences and services, told Việt Nam News that it is seeing growing demand in Việt Nam for outbound travel.
Online travel platform Agoda recently listed the top destinations people in Việt Nam searched for. Thailand led the way, with Vietnamese seemingly keen to again savour its vibrant capital, stunning beaches, shopping, delectable food, and rich culture, Agoda said.
Singapore and Malaysia were in second and fourth spots, while neighbouring Cambodia was at number three.
The Philippines also featured in the list of top 10 searched destinations.
With no visa restrictions, endless tourist options and rapid resumption of flight services ensuring easy access, the attraction these countries have for Vietnamese travellers is unsurprising, Agoda said.
France, South Korea, Japan, and the US also feature among the top destinations for Vietnamese.
With large expatriate Vietnamese populations in all four countries, and France and the US also being home to large numbers of Vietnamese immigrants, Việt Nam might be beginning to see a wave of family-reunion travel from these communities, Agoda said.
“With borders remaining tightly shut for most of the pandemic, it is encouraging to see what looks like more than green shoots for Vietnamese travellers, Lâm Vũ, the website’s country director for Việt Nam, said.
“With Southeast Asia as well as some farther European and US destinations featuring in the top 10 searches it is clear travel has remained on the minds of many Vietnamese travellers.
“We believe the coming months will see a lot more loosening of restrictions, taking travel sentiment levels beyond the pre-pandemic era.” VNS