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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Vietnam border reopening proposed for early May

By Dao Loan

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HCMC – The Private Sector Development (PSD) Committee under the prime minister’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform, the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) and the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) have written to the prime minister proposing reopening the nation’s borders to the world from May 1.

According to the proposal, Vietnam should lift all domestic and international travel restrictions as the country has achieved a very high Covid-19 vaccination rate.

The proposal is aimed at making life easier for Vietnamese nationals abroad and foreign tourists to return to the country and thus paving the way for tour operators to restart their Covid-battered businesses.

Vietnam’s borders should be reopened in May as by then, all firms active in tourism, hotel and aviation services will have time to get ready to welcome back guests, while provinces and cities across the country can complete their Covid vaccine booster campaigns.

Laos and Cambodia have reopened their borders, while many Vietnamese citizens trying to return to Vietnam have flown to Phnom Penh and taken a bus to Vietnam to avoid paying an exorbitant price for repatriation flights, according to the dispatch sent to the prime minister.

Though the Omicron coronavirus variant might hit Vietnam, the country will overcome the potential new wave due to its experience in the fight against Covid and high vaccination rates, the representatives of the PSD Committee, TAB and VBF said in the dispatch.

Besides, the representatives proposed the prime minister and the leaders of ministries and departments announce when borders will be reopened, increase the number of commercial international flights and ease entry restrictions.

The three units also proposed the Government eliminate complicated administrative procedures that have been burdening firms in the tourism industry and other fields. Specifically, hotels and travel firms, though they own licenses for the international travel business, are required to apply for permission to participate in the pilot program to welcome international tourists to Vietnam.

Vietnam has resumed 10 regular commercial international air services and raised the frequency of flights to Japan, Taipei, South Korea and Singapore.

Some 140,000 overseas Vietnamese citizens are hoping to return to the country for the Tet celebrations, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

More than 30,000 passengers, including Vietnamese citizens and foreigners, are expected to travel to Vietnam each week from now until the day before the Lunar New Year holiday.

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