Vietnam poised to welcome back foreign travelers post COVID-19
Photo credit: VOV
According to Nguyen Trung Khanh, director-general of the Vietnam General Administration of Tourism, the country will enjoy many advantages if it chooses to reopen its tourism market.
Most notably, it is one of the few countries to have successfully controlled the COVID-19 epidemic, winning praise from international outlets.
At present, the country has gone nearly two consecutive months without any fresh cases of the virus being locally transmitted. Furthermore, over 96% of the total 332 confirmed cases have made a recovery from the virus, with no deaths being reported.
As a result of its track record of safety, the country must take full advantage of international communication to promote Vietnam as a safe and attractive destination for foreign visitors, said Khanh.
This view was shared by a number of experts, airliners, and tour operators attended a recent seminar held in Hanoi, looking at solutions aimed at kick-starting the post-COVID-19 tourism landscape.
Participants judged that with the epidemic under control, the time to reopen the international tourism market to foreign visitors should now be determined.
In the current context, it is anticipated that Vietnam will enjoy a competitive advantage compared to many other regional countries which have kept travel restrictions in place at various levels.
In an effort to attract foreign holidaymakers, experts recommended that a communication campaign should be established in an effort to popularise the country’s tourism sector, especially through e-marketing and digital media.
To achieve this, it can be considered necessary to have close and synchronised co-ordination between both the State and tour operators in order to ensure that all tourism services are carried out in a safe and attractive manner.
Moreover, the State should swiftly introduce incentives to support businesses, most notably aviation firms, as the industry plays an important role in the tourism market’s recovery process.
For the majority of foreign travelers, they will only start to return to the country when they are sure that it is a safe destination that can boast attractive products and services, according to Kenneth Atkinson, vice chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board.
Despite these strengths, there is no doubt that Vietnam will only begin to accept holidaymakers that come from markets proving to be safe from the virus.
This will therefore require the tourism sector to work closely alongside the diplomatic, police and health sectors, in an attempt to identify a list of safe markets, therefore preventing the COVID-19 from entering the country.
Many experts believed that besides incentives, a key factor in attracting international visitors is a simplified visa policy.
Currently, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism is developing a range of scenarios aimed at welcoming back international visitors following the COVID-19.
If the epidemic is controlled in key markets such as ASEAN and Northeast Asia, the administration will then propose that the Government relax restrictions and kick-start tourism promotions, while strictly following regulations relating to medical controls.
Resume select int’l air routes
Vietnam will reopen international commercial flights to a number of destinations where no new coronavirus cases have been detected during the past 30 days, according to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The prime minister assigned the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control to examine and make public the list of safe destinations, but said the resumption of international flights should be considered carefully.
It is impossible for us to completely close the aviation market but we cannot reopen the market when we are yet to determine the safety level of countries, he told permanent members of the Cabinet in Hanoi on June 9.
Vietnam has closed its door for foreign travelers after the novel coronavirus epidemic broke out several months ago.
In a letter recently sent to the Prime Minister, the National Tourism Advisory Board has proposed solutions for recovering the international tourism market. The board suggested Vietnam should have a set of procedures for reopening the market, including reaching bilateral agreements with individual countries.
According to the board, Vietnam should resume non-stop flights for the time being, consider charter flights, and apply the visa waiver programme to travelers. Upon landing in Vietnam, foreign travelers are required to make health declarations, have body temperature checked, and have a tracking app.
The board recommended Vietnam should first start negotiations with key markets, especially those in Asia including the Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Vietnam should have a communication campaign to promote it as a safe destination post COVID-19, tourism experts said.
Indeed, Vietnam has brought the COVID-19 epidemic under control with no new locally transmitted infections during the past 55 days in a row. The country has only detected 332 cases of which more than 95% have fully recovered. No deaths have been reported.
Forbes has recently announced a list of the world’s leading 100 safest countries in terms of guarding against the novel coronavirus, with Vietnam being placed in 20th overall.
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VnExpress | Long Nguyen