Some advisory bodies have pointed out the medical rules discouraging foreign tourists from coming to Vietnam, stressing that foreign and domestic travellers should receive the same treatment.
Foreign visitors to the Temple of Literature in Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)
In their letter sent to the Prime Minister, the National Private Economic Development Research Board under the PM’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform and the Tourism Advisory Board said medical requirements should be as simplest as possible, and Vietnam needs to avoid the mistakes similar to those in some other international tourist destinations since such mistakes have eroded those places’ attractiveness.
Mentioning the Health Ministry’s proposed medical requirements for international visitors, the think tanks voiced their concerns that the pre- and post-entry COVID-19 testing requirements will lead to a significant decrease in the number of tourists planning to come to Vietnam and create disadvantages for the country when competing with others to attract foreign investment and tourists.
The proposals, with testing and quarantine conditions much stricter than those for Vietnamese, also reflect the should-be-avoided discrimination against international arrivals, the advisory bodies said, noting that they also run counter to the Government’s directions on COVID-19 adaptation and global trends.
The bodies recommended Vietnam follow what most of other countries are doing, which is eliminating testing requirements for foreigners before departure and after arrival, and treating all international and domestic visitors equally.
They also suggested the country accept most of COVID-19 vaccination certificates and treat children under 12 and their parents in the same way, which means if parents hold valid vaccination certificates, their children are allowed to enter Vietnam without testing or vaccination certificates.
In addition, the think tanks held that all tourists showing a positive test result after entering the country only need to be quarantined at their hotels or accommodations until the test result is negative, like the current rule for domestic travellers.
As Vietnam will completely reopen to international tourists from March 15, the two agencies forecast it will take many months, even years, for the number of foreign arrivals to return to pre-pandemic levels, adding that an open, clear-sighted, and timely policy will build up trust in the main sources of foreign visitors and improve Vietnam’s competitiveness./.
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The proposals by MOH on requiring foreign arrivals not to leave accommodations for the first 72 hours in Vietnam have discouraged travel firms. They say the overly strict requirement is contrary to the Government’s policy on tourism reopening.