On Wednesday March 16th, Vietnam announced the end of quarantine for international travelers, as the country seeks to restart its tourism industry after two years of strict restrictions due to Covid-19.
All travelers will still be required to arrive with proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR or LAMP test taken within 72 hours of their departure or a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of their departure, Travel + Leisure reports. Travelers must also make a health declaration before arriving, download a coronavirus-related app, monitor their own health for 10 days, and obtain insurance that covers at least $10,000 in expenses.
Virus restrictions have slowly been eased in recent months, with visitors returning since November to play golf at resorts under a bubble deal. Vietnam also announced the resumption of 15 days of visa-free travel for citizens of 13 countries – Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Britain, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Belarus.
The country, which has a population of 97 million, still reports several thousands of new cases of Covid-19 per day as the Omicron variant progresses. According to Reuters, Vietnam is currently seeing a spike in Covid-19 cases and is reporting an average of about 254,000 new infections each day. The country has vaccinated more than 80% of its population, according to Johns Hopkins’ Coronavirus Resource Center. The Health Ministry says the situation “remains under control” and hospitalization and mortality rates remain low.
Before the pandemic outbreak, the period 2015 – 2019 witnessed a breakthrough growth of Vietnam tourism. International visitor arrivals increased 2.3 times, from 7.9 million visitor arrivals to 18 million visitor arrivals, an average increase of 22.7% per year. This was the fastest growing globally according to the report of the World Tourism Organisation. The competitiveness of Vietnam tourism increased 12 places, with ranking from 75/141 to 63/140 economies. Tourism contributes directly 9.2% of GDP.
The outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020 seized tourism activities globally, including Vietnam. Tourism and aviation were the first industries to get beaten up harshly. The number of international visitor arrivals to Vietnam in 2020 decreased by 79.5%; domestic visitors decreased by 34.1%; the total tourism receipts downed by 58.7% – a decrease equivalent to about USD19 billion.
In order to carry out the safe and effective opening of tourism, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has issued guidance documents and asked localities to urgently prepare for the reopening of tourism, which focus on ensuring safety, implementing tourism stimulation programs, developing products, improving service quality, upholding promotion activities, supplementing human resources and strengthening inspection and examination.
The country is making efforts to implement booster vaccines among the population as it prepares to vaccinate children and young adolescents.