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5 Localities Aim to Welcome Vaccinated Foreign Tourists From Next Month

Tourism destinations in Vietnam are eager to restart their economies after it appears that the current outbreak is subsiding.

VnExpress reports that Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Da Nang and Quang Ninh all plan to welcome fully vaccinated international tourists for the first time since the pandemic began next month. Quarantine would not be required. This would be the first step in Vietnam's months-long plan to resume inbound foreign tourism.

Accordingly, visitors flying to the above localities would have to confirm their destination and place of stay in advance, while also testing negative for COVID-19 before traveling anywhere else. 

As of this writing, details on exactly where in these areas tourists will be able to visit are not clear, nor is it known exactly how visitors — who will have to be fully vaccinated — will fly to Vietnam.

The most advanced planning is focused on Phu Quoc Island, which is in Kien Giang Province. Officials had originally hoped to open the island as a "sandbox," similar to Phuket, this month, but plans were delayed due to low vaccination rates on the island.

According to Reuters, charter flights carrying international visitors with vaccine passports are expected to begin arriving on November 20. Guests will be allowed to stay at select hotels and resorts, while it is not yet clear whether they will be able to move around the island. 

Officials hope that Phu Quoc will receive up to 5,000 foreign arrivals from December through March. In 2019, around 670,000 international tourists visited the island. 

VnExpress adds that from January 2022, more parts of the country will be allowed to welcome tourists, but this will be dependent on the pandemic situation in a given province or city by then. A complete reopening of the tourism sector is expected through the second quarter of 2022, again under the assumption that the pandemic is controlled domestically. 

Other provinces are already asking for permission to accept vaccinated foreign tourists ahead of this timeline. Officials in Binh Dinh Province, for example, have proposed allowing visitors starting next month. They would need to provide a negative COVID-19 test certificate and full vaccination records, while only being allowed to come on package tours through designated travel agencies.

Travel companies in Khanh Hoa, meanwhile, have reportedly received tens of thousands of bookings from Russian nationals hoping to visit the province from November, even though such tourism hasn't been officially approved yet.

[Photos: Vendors selling lanterns in Hoi An, Quang Nam]

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