Tourism ministry seeks resumption of pre-pandemic visa waiver policy for tourists

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Tourists visiting the ancient town of Hội An, Quảng Nam Province in 2019. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Đức

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has proposed the Government resumes pre-pandemic waivers of visas for tourists from 24 countries when the country restarts international tourism.

The ministry earlier proposed March 31, 2022, to be the beginning of the total reopening of international tourism in Việt Nam, as the country expects to finish its COVID-19 vaccine booster shot campaign by then.

The list of 24 countries on the visa exemption list comprises Brunei, Myanmar (for 14-day stay or less), the Philippines (21-day stay), Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Kyrgyzstan (no more than 30-day stay), Belarus, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Finland, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain (less than 15-day stay), Chile and France (diplomatic passport and official passport holders can enter Việt Nam without a need for a visa for a stay/stays of 90 days in total in six months).

Arrivals from 46 countries could enter Việt Nam on e-visas, as before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and the country closed its border.

The tourism ministry wants the Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be on board with this policy.

The Ministry of Health is expected to provide medical guidelines for arrivals, and technical guidance to monitor and deal with COVID-19 outbreaks in the new normal, which are consistent with existing regulations in many other countries “to ensure international integration efforts,” the tourism ministry noted.

Negotiations with other countries to push recognition of Việt Nam’s COVID-19 vaccination certificates should also be expedited, to facilitate outbound tourism.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism requested the Government direct the Ministry of Information and Communications to assume prime responsibility in selecting a uniform mobile COVID-19 app that foreign arrivals need to use during their stay in Việt Nam.

The People’s Committees of provinces/cities need to proactively prepare conditions to open tourism, uniformly operate, closely supervise the welcoming of guests to ensure safety, while having plans to handle medical issues arising from tourism.

During the 2022 Tiger Lunar New Year, 467 visitors arrived in Việt Nam under the pilot “COVID-19 vaccine passport” programme.

Since the launch of the programme late last year, a total of 8,967 international tourists have arrived in three localities – Phú Quốc Island (Kiên Giang Province), Khánh Hoà, and Quảng Nam.

Most of them came from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the UK, the US and Canada.

As many as 16 travel firms, 82 lodging facilities, 28 tourist sites, eight shopping centres and 48 transportation companies in the five targeted localities have registered and been eligible to join the first phase of the programme.

27 cases of COVID-19 infections have been detected among them – 17 in Phú Quốc and 10 in Khánh Hoà. — VNS

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