Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on November 5 issued guidance on temporarily hosting international tourists to the country, emphasizing that visitors must meet four medical conditions.
The guiding document of the ministry, republished by Vietnam’s state-controlled media, defines international tourists to Vietnam as “foreigners” and “Vietnamese residing abroad.”
According to the ministry’s document, the top of the four medical conditions that foreign tourists must meet to enter Vietnam is that they must have a certificate of vaccination against COVID-19 or have recovered from the disease. In addition, those certificates must be issued by a competent authority of a foreign country, they must also be recognized by a competent authority of Vietnam.
VOA researched and learned that Vietnamese embassies abroad are authorized to recognize the above certificates by the domestic government and charge fees, but the embassies have not announced how much the fee is.
To further clarify this first condition, the document of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism states that “the duration of injection of the 2nd or 1st dose (for the 1-dose vaccine) is valid for 14 days and not exceeding 12 months. to the time of departure.” As for those who have recovered from COVID-19, the ministry stipulates that “the time from the time of discharge from the hospital to the time of departure should not exceed 6 months.”
The second condition is that the traveler must have a negative test result for SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, by RT-PCR/RT-LAMP within 72 hours before departure and certified by a foreign competent authority.
Next is a condition to have medical insurance or travel insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment with a minimum liability of $50,000.
The final condition is that visitors must participate in the package tour program of the travel agency.
The ministry said that Vietnam is implementing a pilot program to welcome foreign tourists in 3 phases, starting from this November and aiming to fully open to foreign tourists.
According to the ministry’s program, in phase 1, from November, tourists fly to visit and relax in the provinces and cities of Phu Quoc, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Da Nang, and Quang Ninh.
In the next phase, expected from January 2022, Vietnam will expand its scope of welcoming international tourists. The ministry said foreigners will be able to travel according to the program for 7 days at the first destination, they can continue to travel to destinations in 5 provinces and cities mentioned in phase 1.
After the above two phases, Vietnam will assess the actual epidemic situation and the results of welcoming international tourists to implement phase 3, which is to fully reopen the international tourist market. The ministry did not give an expected time to start phase 3.
A director of a travel company who did not want to be named told VOA that he welcomes the fact that the ministry does not set isolation conditions for foreign tourists, but he believes that the four conditions of the ministry are still the same difficulty for the tourism industry.
The director pointed out that in the early stages, the fact that tourists can only stay in resorts or only visit according to the program in 1 locality for 7 days is not attractive to tourists.
In addition, many overseas Vietnamese tourists want to combine returning home to travel with relatives, but according to the latest regulations, they are only allowed to go on a tour for 7 days, which is also unreasonable, the tourism industry businessman told VOA.