Phu Quoc first to reopen for travellers

HANOI, 6 September 2021: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has been tasked with speeding up plans to reopen tourism on the holiday island of Phu Quoc.

Plans to make Phu Quoc island the pilot project to reopen tourism gained an airing during a meeting last week between Vietnam’s Deputy Minister Doan Van Viet and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Vietnam has not yet opened its doors to international tourists since the first wave of the Covid-19 hit the country in April 2020, forcing the closure of international borders for all but essential travel.

The tourism industry is now actively seeking solutions to achieve positive results during the last quarter of this year, following eight months when foreign arrivals totalled just over 100,000, down by more than 97% when compared with pre-Covid-19 times.

The minister described the past eight months as a tourism freeze but encouraged the VNAT to be proactive and propose solutions to stimulate demand and restore domestic and international tourism under new normal conditions.

On the table for urgent consideration is a proposed pilot project to welcome international tourists to Phu Quoc on a limited basis for visitors who fly in on direct airline routes from specific countries where travellers have been fully vaccinated. It is likely to start before the end of the year, possibly focusing on Russian travellers flying on charters to Phu Quo island to escape the harsh winter.

VNAT is working with the People’s Committee of Kien Giang province to prepare for the implementation of the pilot plan to welcome international visitors to Phu Quoc as soon as it is has gained the full approval of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister.

Policies have been approved to stimulate demand and restore tourism activities in the last four months of 2021 and into 2022.

Solutions to support the tourism industry include financial aid for employees and employers facing difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Policies are in place to reduce the registration deposit for travel businesses, cut the cost of electricity and other utilities for accommodation facilities, and assistance for tour guides that have been out of work for more than a year since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic.

The Deputy Minister said VNAT efforts should focus on urging local authorities to urgently implement support for tour guides facing difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He concluded that VNAT should propose and develop scenarios to welcome tourists and restore the tourism industry while focusing on important issues such as investing to meet tourism recovery requirements, such as human resources, promotion, tourism infrastructure.