Vietnamese authorities welcomed 200 vaccinated foreign tourists to Phu Quoc Saturday, the first wave of tourists to arrive on Vietnamese beaches in almost two years. The country is trying to revive its tourism industry in the wake of a pandemic that decimated its economy.
The Vietnamese government implemented tight border controls to keep out Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic, with some success, but that harmed the country’s burgeoning tourist sector, which accounts for about 10% of its gross domestic product.
Vaccinated tourists are no longer required to undergo the mandatory two-week quarantine, according to the authorities. Instead, they must remain within the Vinpearl resort complex and will be tested twice during the trip.
According to Nguyen Trung Khanh, chairman of the country’s tourism administration, this is a vital step to revive the industry and prepare for its full resumption next year. “We hope to provide visitors with a new experience amidst a new normality so that they can live fully on Phu Quoc, and then fully on Vietnamese soil,” Khanh added.
By the end of the year, the authorities expect to welcome 400,000 domestic and international tourists.
Various other Vietnamese destinations, including the Unesco world heritage site Hoi An and the Danang beach, are also welcoming international tourists back.
Similar measures were taken by neighbouring Thailand, which earlier this month hosted quarantine-free holidays for vaccinated foreign tourists.
The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam decreased from 18 million in 2019, when tourism revenue accounted for 31 billion dollars, or nearly 12 per cent of the country’s GDP, to 3.8 million last year.
Having vaccinated more than half of its 98 million people, Vietnam is aiming to resume international flights from January next year and to fully open its tourism industry by June.