Number of foreign visitors plunge 98.7 percent in Q1 hinh anh 1Foreign visitors in Hoi An ancient city (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) -
The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam in the first quarter of this year fell 98.7 percent year-on-year to just over 48,000, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to throw cold water on the country’s inbound tourism sector, the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported on March 29.

As the country has closed its borders to nearly all foreign arrivals in a bid to contain the pandemic, the number of visitors arriving by air, land, and sea has fallen substantially.

Most arrivals have been foreign experts and technical workers working for Vietnamese projects or drivers bringing goods through border gates, according to the GSO.

The pandemic has been brought under control in Vietnam, with frontline workers now receiving vaccine shots. Authorities have bolstered negotiations with international partners on vaccine procurement while speeding up home-grown vaccine development to ensure accessibility for local people.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that although it is necessary to reopen the door to foreign tourists, the country must remain prudent in the task of assuring effective pandemic prevention and economic development.

VNAT has worked with representatives from relevant ministries and sectors to discuss a pilot plan on bringing foreign visitors to Vietnam.

Source markets must have sound pandemic prevention measures in place and have bilateral agreements with Vietnam on the issue, such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan (China). Travel companies and destinations must also meet State requirements on pandemic prevention./.