Covid-19 forces Vietnam to shift events

HANOI, 6 August 2021: Vietnam will shift the dates for the 22nd edition of its national film festival from September to November in response to the recent spikes in Covid-19 infections.

The Vietnam Film Festival will still be hosted in the former imperial city and UNESCO World Heritage city of Hue in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

According to the Vietnam News Agency, the festival will be hosted from 19 to 23 November. Earlier the government scheduled the event for 12 to 16 September, but a dramatic surge in Covid-19 infections attributed to the Delta variant forced health authorities to reintroduce strict control measures that restrict public events. In some instances, the lockdown of cities halted domestic flights.

Requests to show films at the festival must be sent to organisers before 15 August. The biennial festival honours outstanding works and artists with contributions to the country’s cinematography.

SEA Games moves to July 2022

Meanwhile, Vietnam confirmed last month it would postpone this year’s 31st Southeast Asian Games, due to be held in Hanoi and 11 other locations in the country, from 21 November to 2 December, until next year.

The country’s  Olympics Committee sent an email on 31 July to ASEAN member countries that participate in the games and also to Timor Leste and to the SEA Games Council based in Bangkok proposing that the games should be moved to July next year.

The SEA Games attracts around 20,000 participants, including about 7,000 athletes, from 11 countries.

Can Cambodia host ATF in January 2022?

Speculation is also rife that the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022 to be hosted by Cambodia in January 2022 may have to be postponed for the second year running if Covid-19 outbreaks continue to restrict travel within and to the ASEAN region.  The 10 countries that comprise the ASEAN region are suffering a massive relapse with new variants of Covid-19 emerging and inflicting even heavier damage to health and economy than was experienced in 2020.

Privately, leading travel executives are evaluating the situation and will have a better understanding by the end of September. If there is no let-up in the infections rates in ASEAN and countries remain hemmed in by travel restrictions, the ATF organisers will face the same dilemma as last year. Do they press on regardless and host the event, or should caution once more prevail, resulting in a postponement of the ATF to January 2023?