Foreign tourists landed in Phu Quoc on Saturday as Vietnam started to welcome back the first travellers back to the country since March last year. however restrictions in Saigon have been increased.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam credit Stefan on flickr
Prior to the pandemic, the growing tourism business accounted for around 10% of GDP in Vietnam. Just 3.8 million international travellers arrived in the country last year, compared to 18 million in 2019.
According to VN Express International 204 South Koreans arrived in Phu Quoc, becoming the first international tourists on the island under the reopening plans.
“This is the first and vital step to revive our tourism sector and to prepare for the full resumption next year.
“We want to offer tourists a new experience amid new normalcy which they can live fully in Phu Quoc and then live fully in Vietnam.”Nguyen Trung Khanh, Chairman Vietnam Tourism Administration via REUTERS
Authorities in Phu Quoc hope to see tourist numbers, including domestic travellers, reach 400,000 by the end of the year. domestic tourism has always been significant on the island.
“I am happy to see everything, from the scenery to the way we were received is so great.”South Korean tourist to VN Express International
Although visitors do not have to quarantine, they are restricted to their resorts and to specified tourists destinations that they can visit only as part of authorised tours.
The Vietnam reopening has also seen Quang Nam (including Hoi An), Khanh Hoa (inc Nha Trang), Quang Ninh (inc Ha Long Bay) and Da Nang welcome international tourists back to the country.
Things are less bright in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) however.
Just two days after bars, spas and karaoke clubs were allowed to reopen they have been ordered to close again following an increase in Covid-19 cases.
The restrictions were lifted on 16th November but a swift u-turn took place as the city government ordered them closed again stating that the city pandemic “is still complicated with hidden risks.”
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