Foreign, domestic tourists should be treated equally

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A group of Russian tourists enjoy their tour of the central province of Khánh Hoà. — VNA/VNS Photo Phan Sáu

HÀ NỘI — Two think tanks have pointed out that current medical rules will discourage foreign tourists from visiting Việt Nam, stressing that foreign and domestic travellers should receive the same treatment.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the National Private Economic Development Research Board and the Tourism Advisory Board said medical requirements should be as simple as possible, and Việt Nam needed to avoid mistakes made in other tourist destinations.

Mentioning the health ministry’s proposed medical requirements for international visitors, the think tanks voiced concerns that pre- and post-entry COVID testing requirements would significantly decrease the number of tourists planning to come to Việt Nam and create disadvantages for the country in competing for foreign investment.

The proposals, with testing and quarantine conditions much stricter than those for Vietnamese, should avoid discrimination against international arrivals, the advisory bodies said, noting that they ran counter to Government’s directions on COVID-19 adaptation and global trends.

They recommended Việt Nam follow other countries: eliminating testing requirements for foreigners before departure and after arrival and treating international and domestic tourists equally.

They also suggested the country accept most COVID-19 vaccination certificates and treat children under 12 and their parents the same way; if parents hold valid vaccination certificates, their children should be allowed to enter.

In addition, the think tanks held that tourists showing a positive test result after entering the country only needed to be quarantined at their hotel or accommodation until the test result was negative, as per the current rule for domestic travellers.

As Việt Nam 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 trust and improve Việt Nam’s competitiveness. — VNS

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