Experts doubtful on “vaccine passport” hinh anh 1People wearing masks to prevent COVID-19 infection in London (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Some countries plan to open their doors for vaccinated visitors in an attempt to “rescue” their tourism and aviation sectors that have been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the feasibility of the “vaccine passport” scheme has remained a question.

Controversial matter

Director of VietSen Travel Nguyen Van Tai said apart from tourism, other international industries have also based on COVID-19 testing to allow travelling of their employees.

However, he said, it is not an absolutely safe option as the number of vaccinated people has remained low.

Tai suggested combining the “vaccine passport” scheme with campaigns to raise public awareness of pandemic prevention and control, and the “5K” message of the health ministry - khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering), and khai bao y te (health declaration).

Experts doubtful on “vaccine passport” hinh anh 2The pandemic has affected the operation of resorts in Vietnam (Photo: VietnamPlus)

In fact, the “vaccine passport” has continued to create a controversy globally as it directly relates to public health and safety.

According to AFP, only 222 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered globally as of February 26, against the total population of 7.8 billion.

Meanwhile, the countries that have yet to roll out the vaccination make up more than 20 percent of the global population. In the EU, only over 10 million people have received full two shots, equivalent to 2.3 percent of the regional population.

The present vaccines are not enough to serve the pandemic prevention and control work. Therefore, it would trigger humanitarian issues and inequality if vaccines are used to serve business purposes.

Experts doubtful on “vaccine passport” hinh anh 3Domestic tourism will become a trend of 2021. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

“Controversy can be seen in any country that aims to roll out “vaccine passport,” Tai said. “I think that ‘vaccine tourism’ is no suitable for the whole world and Vietnam at this time.”

Potential-but-infeasible product

Nguyen Cong Hoan, General Director of Flamingo Redtours and head of the communication department at the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA), described the “vaccine passport” as a certificate of a citizen “free from COVID-19”.

However, the validity of the certificate is too short against that of a passport, Hoan said.

Experts doubtful on “vaccine passport” hinh anh 4Tourism sector hopes for a bright future. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

The “vaccine passport” would help boost tourism demand. However, it is hard to put it in place, he said, explaining that Vietnam has yet to resume international commercial flights.

There are now only international flights repatriating overseas Vietnamese or bringing foreign experts and employees to Vietnam, Hoang said.

Secondly, he continued, Vietnam has endorsed only AstraZeneca among many other COVID-19 vaccines produced in the world.

Another problem lies with the gap between two vaccine shots, Hoan and other experts shared the view, stressing the need to put forth a suitable vaccination process and select an organisation certifying the injection.

In 2020, the number of international tourists to Vietnam fell nearly 80 percent as compared to 2019, while domestic travelers were down by 50 percent and the number of outbound tourists plunged 90 percent.

The sector’s total revenue stood at 312.2 trillion VND (13.5 billion USD), down nearly 60 percent.

In 2019, a year in which the tourism industry accounted for 12 percent of the country’s GDP, international travelers made up only 17 percent of overall tourists in Vietnam, yet accounting for more than half of all tourism spending - averaging 673 USD per traveler compared with 61 USD spent on average by domestic travelers, according to McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm./.