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Saigon Resumes Domestic Tourism in 'Green' Districts for Fully Vaccinated Guests

Domestic tourists will eventually be allowed to enter Saigon if they have been fully vaccinated or recovered from a past COVID-19 infection.

According to VnExpress, a negative test 48 hours before arrival and verified vaccine history will allow visitors to come to Saigon's "green zones." Those under 18 will not need to be vaccinated but must prove they are free of the virus. No specific date for the plan has been announced. 

Local tourism staff, including hotel employees who come into frequent contact with guests, will be required to be fully vaccinated or provide proof of COVID-19 recovery. Those with less-frequent contact will need at least one shot and can only work remotely. Tests will be required every three days as well.

The so-called "green zones" are those areas in Saigon including District 7, Can Gio and Cu Chi districts, which have been deemed to have COVID-19 under control. Last Sunday, the city successfully organized two tours to Can Gio and Cu Chi for 227 frontline workers, who are all fully vaccinated. These are the first tourism activities in Saigon since the current outbreak started in May.

In some wards of District 7, some lockdown rules have been eased, allowing residents to exercise outdoors if socially distanced. The scheme is being trialed while the city attempts its "green pass" system for vaccinated individuals.

Meanwhile, foreign visitors not receiving exempt status as expert workers or diplomats have been banned from entering Vietnam since March 2020, and inbound commercial flights are still suspended. Previous plans for mandatory quarantine periods have drawn the ire of foreign guests. Phu Quoc has been floated as a pilot area to allow tourists if a threshold of local vaccinations is reached, though the island is facing a new outbreak.

In addition to the approximately 9% of GDP tourism represents for the nation, the country relies greatly on foreign businesses investments. This recent outbreak has strained current and future investments, and foreign companies have begun questioning the viability of continuing operations in Vietnam given the current lockdown. The return of tourists may help alleviate the concerns of multi-national corporations.

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