Opening international tourism in the new period: Difficulties remain

The pilot of receiving foreign tourists has been rated as good, yet the tourism industry is still facing various difficulties.
Opening international tourism in the new period: Difficulties remain ảnh 1First foreign visitors back to Phu Quoc. (Photo: VNA)

“Remove quarantine regulations”, “open the door totally to tourism”, “no pilot needed for tourism opening”, etc, were some of the more prominent proposals put forward by experts and leading officials of the tourism sector at a conference in Hanoi on January 24.

However, it is an undeniable fact that to open international tourism at an early date, relevant ministries, sectors and localities have to overcome numerous difficulties.

Silver lining

Speaking at the event, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung said Vietnam’s tourism has seen a silver lining after the pilot.

The arrivals of the nearly 8,500 foreign tourists over the past two months or so have proved that Vietnam is a safe, friendly and hospitable destination, and this helps create a push for the determination of the whole sector for recovery.

Most foreign tourists are from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the UK, the US, and Canada. Their main destinations include Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa and Quang Nam provinces.

As well as the initial and positive achievements, the pilot also encountered several difficulties, such as the selective granting of visas which reduces the attractiveness of destinations in the context that many countries in the region are applying more flexible policies to visitors.

Opening international tourism in the new period: Difficulties remain ảnh 2Minister Nguyen Van Hung at the conference. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

The pilot does not apply to foreign tourists who come by road or by sea, although the potential is huge, and this is another hurdle, participants pointed out.

Under a directive by the Ministry of Health, tourism firms can organise outbound tours, but this is poorly feasible as only a handful of foreign countries recognise vaccination certificates issued by Vietnam, while the resumption of regular international commercial flights is also confronted by difficulties in the pilot period.

“Opening after international common practices”

The harmonisation of the provisions on the health issues is the biggest problem to the development of both domestic and international tourism at the moment, according to Tran Trong Kien, Chairman of the Tourism Advisory Board. The official further said that the provisions applicable to tourism companies are too tight and should be removed.

Opening international tourism in the new period: Difficulties remain ảnh 3Vietnam’s tourism experiencing hard times. (Illustrative photo)

Head of the Private Economic Development Research Commission Truong Gia Binh said it is “unreasonable” for Vietnam to not totally open the door for tourism, as the opening has nothing to do with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Besides, Binh said the failure to open the door for international tourism at an early date runs counter to the Government’s policy of quickly recovering the economy, as the sector has a strong impact on the livelihood of more than 2.5 million workers and many other economic sectors.

“Vietnam should open its door after international common practices, like many other countries in the world are doing. Let’s open the door for the interest of the people and for the future of the country,” the official said.

Proposals for early reopening of the international market

Director of the Kien Giang Tourism Department Bui Quoc Thai said that shortly, there should be unified directives on tourists’ entry. Meanwhile, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Manh Quyen asked for the official and complete opening for both domestic and international tourism, with Hanoi starting from April 1 to have enough time to prepare for the Victory Day and May Day holidays, as well as the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

Opening international tourism in the new period: Difficulties remain ảnh 4Short-distance destinations close to nature are becoming a trend among Vietnamese tourists. (Illustrative photo)

Leading tourism officials of many other localities pointed out that the short validity of COVID-19 test certificates is unsuitable as many tourists are coming from very far away countries who will have to spend much time on their flights and transits.

“Vietnam has taken the first cautious steps in welcoming back foreign visitors,” Minister Hung said.

He pointed out advantages for the resumption of tourism, such as the readiness of localities, the desire of tourism firms and the rapid expansion of the vaccination to support the proposal to the Prime Minister for the early reopening./.


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