With Vietnam looking to reopen for tourists, new vaccine passports and the gradual easing of travel restrictions are high on the agenda. Nguyen Quy Phuong, director of the Tourism Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, discussed with VIR’s Lu Y the most important considerations in these fields.
The application of a COVID-19 vaccine passport and green pass presents many opportunities as well as challenges for the tourism industry. What obstacles should we prepare for?
|Nguyen Quy Phuong, director of the Tourism Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism |
Currently, there is no consensus on the recognition of vaccine passports between countries because each is using a separate application. The task at hand for Vietnam is to reconcile our system with those of our international partners to allow seamless travel.
This task entails setting up a system with other countries to exchange and update information on our respective citizens, and uploading COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates in an application so that they can be used at checkpoints to facilitate rapid processing.
The government has approved a pilot project to welcome international visitors holding vaccine passports in Quang Ninh and Phu Quoc Island.
The tourism industry has also requested the Ministry of Health to soon issue general regulations for domestic tourism, clarifying the grainting of vaccine passports and COVID-19 green passes to reopen the domestic tourim market at the soonest.
Some travel businesses claimed that the pilot reopening at Phu Quoc is too restrictive, as very few businesses can meet these requirements. Do you think these conditions are too strict?
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has undoubtedly proposed to the prime minister quite strict requirements, which may cause difficulties for some travel businesses. However, these requirements are necessary to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the pilot on the island.
This is also the reason why Phu Quoc will only resume tourism activities when 90 per cent of the island’s population is vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has worked with Kien Giang province to handpick businesses that meet the requirements and they will have to cooperate with local authorities to ensure the safety of visitors and locals alike.
The pilot phase will be followed by an evaluation and appropriate adjustments in each month and each phase. Whenever it is safe, we will gradually loosen requirements for businesses.