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Ministry proposes fully reopening borders to int’l tourists in late Mar

By Dao Loan

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HCMC – The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has proposed the prime minister fully reopen Vietnam’s borders to the world from March 31 to welcome back international visitors and enable local tourists to travel abroad through all of the country’s international borders.

On January 24, the ministry held a seminar to collect feedback on a date to fully reopen the country’s borders. At the event, the ministry planned to propose that the full reopening would start on May 1.

However, in recent days, many tourism firms and carriers had constantly proposed the head of the Government that the country should fully reopen its doors sooner, in February.

The ministry then submitted its report about a suggested roadmap to resume international travel safely and effectively to the prime minister, saying that the country’s international travel should be fully resumed from March 31.

It said this would be a proper time for full reopening to ensure the country’s competitiveness with other destinations in the region. Also, by March, the country is expected to complete its Covid-19 vaccine booster campaign and reach its herd immunity target. The ministries and agencies by that time will have completed all tourism-related policies needed for an effective reopening, while tour operators will also have completed their tourism promotion campaigns to welcome back tourists.

As Vietnam will host the 31st SEA Games in May this year, the country’s early announcement to fully reopen its doors would help increase tourist arrivals from ASEAN countries.

Further, given many countries in the region preparing to issue their reopening plans, if Vietnam decides to fully reopen its borders later than the time mentioned above, the country would be less attractive to international visitors, the ministry said.

As for the country’s on-going pilot program to welcome back international travelers, the ministry proposed extending the program till March 30 and implementing it on a larger scale by allowing localities that completed booster shot campaigns to receive tourists.

Apart from that, localities should be flexible in enforcing the Covid testing mandate. They could allow tourists to take a test upon arrival in tourist destinations or at lodging facilities, offer tourism services to both domestic and foreign travelers, and should not impose limits on travel time.

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