Picture Vietnamese workers. Credit Abbas Jamie on Unsplash
There has been talk from a number of countries about the re-opening of borders and relaxation of entry restrictions including just yesterday of potential relaxations in Thailand. All has been quiet from Vietnam however. Until now.
There have been calls from tourist organisations in Bali, Singapore and Thailand for restrictions to be relaxed from the third quarter of 2021 especially for travellers who have received both doses of a recognised Covid-19 vaccine. Nguyen Huu Tho, chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association (VTA) has now called for restrictions to be relaxed in the country from July.
“Vietnam should prepare to receive international visitors from July to help the heavily-hit tourism industry recover as 95 percent of inbound travel firms have suspended operation.”
“Promoting domestic tourism could bring in revenue but cannot save the tourism industry. The roadmap to opening up the international market is the only solution.”Nguyen Huu Tho, Chairman Vietnam Tourism Association
Between 5% and 10% of the GDP in Vietnam comes from tourism, less than a number of neighbours but still a significant sum. Last year saw a 79% drop in visitor numbers as just 3.83 million tourists entered the country from more than 18 million in 2019. The country has been reluctant to open the borders until the pandemic has been brought under control and protective measures are in place.
The country has however been one of the most successful in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic with just 2,524 cases and 35 deaths confirmed so far. In contrast Thailand, also deemed to have been a success story, has recorded more than 26,000 cases, Singapore more than 60,000 and the Philippines almost 600,000.
“The industry should aim at international markets that have responded effectively to the pandemic.”Nguyen Thi Khanh, Chairwoman Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Association
The vaccine rollout, especially throughout Europe and North America, could herald confidence in vaccine passports being suitable to attract foreign tourists again, especially from countries with low infection rates. Gathering confidence that vaccines may significantly reduce the spread of the virus also builds confidence in the plan.
It is still unclear how much support the call will get from the Vietnamese government but it is the first sign that confidence in reopening borders is growing in the country.
Source VN Express International
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