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Experts propose fully reopening borders before April 30

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Experts have proposed fully reopening the country’s borders to welcome back international tourists before Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labor Day (May 1).

At a seminar to discuss a roadmap to resume international travel, held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on January 24, Hanoi Vice Chairman Nguyen Manh Quyen said the city failed to meet targets for the tourism sector last year due to the impact of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the city’s vaccination rate is high.

Therefore, the city suggested reopening the country’s borders on April 1.

Dinh Viet Son, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, under the Ministry of Transport, in October last year, said the ministry studied the resumption of international air routes but they were not resumed until December last year.

He also suggested reopening the country to foreign tourists before April 30 as the 31st SEA Games will be held in Vietnam in May, so local competent agencies would need time to prepare for the event.

According to Trinh Hong Quang, deputy general director of Vietnam Airlines, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism should propose the Government resume inbound tourism from February 1, not place international visitors under quarantine and apply visa waiver policy as in 2019. The Ministry of Health should work out a process to handle Covid infections among foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Trung Khanh, head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said as of January 23, or two months after welcoming back international tourists on a trial basis, Vietnam has received more than 8,500 tourists from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia to Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa and Quang Nam.

During the period, 27 tourists were found infected with Covid-19 and treated at hotels, posing no risk of community transmission.

Therefore, the administration proposed resuming international tourism services at the earliest, including inbound and outbound tours.

It suggested that until April 30, localities continue to conduct the second phase of the plan to pilot the resumption of international tourism. From May 1, the country’s borders should be reopened completely.

By May 1, the relevant agencies will have enough time to amend or issue appropriate regulations and enterprises can prepare their tourism products and services.

Sharing the view, representatives of many tourism firms and the Ministries of Transport, National Defense and Foreign Affairs also threw their support behind the plan to restart international tourism from May 1.

Speaking at the seminar, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung said enterprises and the authorities of localities had striven to come up with feasible solutions to resume the tourism sector.

Localities have been willing to welcome back international tourists, while the Government approved the resumption of air routes to 10 markets. Vietnam now ranks sixth in the world in terms of the Covid vaccination pace.

Therefore, he proposed the prime minister quickly allow the reopening of the country’s border, announce the specific reopening time and assign specific tasks to the relevant ministries and agencies.

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