|People are itching to get back to normality, and this can include flights for business or pleasure. Photo: Vietnam Airlines |
The Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) is again looking at the feasibility of travel passes for domestic and international travel from Vietnam, having further studied the use of such certificates elsewhere.
“Many parliaments have adopted vaccine passports in law. We suggest that the Vietnamese government assigns a ministry to act as the focal point, responsible for research and pilot implementation of a travel pass in an early and synchronous manner across the country,” said Hoang Nhan Chinh, secretariat director of TAB.
Unlike a vaccine passport, which is only issued to those who have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, a green travel pass could be issued to all Vietnamese citizens and foreigners with temporary residence cards who have received two doses, or patients who have been granted recovery certificates and people who have tested negative for the virus within the previous 72 hours.
The green travel pass would consist of a person’s identification information, passport details, and medical information including vaccination status, test results, or recovery status from COVID-19.
In addition, it could assign users a QR code in a colour-coded system based on regulations from the Ministry of Health (MoH).
TAB assesses that a green travel pass is not only an effective solution for the tourism industry but also can be applied to many others such as commerce, aviation, and sports, thereby helping revive economic activities.
So far, 40 countries and territories and six international organisations have adopted safety certification with the same value as a green travel pass.
Since the end of June, EU member states have issued a Digital Green Certificate to citizens who have been fully vaccinated. It contains a QR code of an EU member state and a common QR code for the EU. People use it as a medical card and show it to the authorities when crossing the border or going to public areas.
Meanwhile, there are vaccine passports in the Philippines, vaccination certificate from the Linux Foundation Public Health, and an International Air Transport Association (IATA) travel pass.
Many experts recommend that Vietnam soon apply green travel passes domestically, while airlines are waiting for the IATA Travel Pass to resume international routes.
Nguyen Huu Tho, chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said that the application of a green travel pass is necessary. “The increased demand for travel, tourism, and aviation will be an opportunity to revive the economy, trade and services, investment, and export activities,” said Tho.
He suggested that the MoH’s electronic health book should be integrated into a green pass. If the health book application has an English version, it can be combined with an international organisation to serve as proof of vaccination.
According to Nguyen Quy Phuong, director of the Tourism Department at the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, vaccine passports and green travel passes are a domestic concern ad the country needs to prepare now for a roadmap to gradually reopen the economy.
“As of September 10, over four million people are fully vaccinated so far and Vietnam has seen over 338,000 COVID-19 patients fully recover from the virus. The number of people vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine will be even higher at the end of the year so we are proposing to the relevant ministries to launch a QR code so that local authorities can scan and check it to facilitate the movement of people,” Phuong said.
Tran The Dung, director of Fiditour and Vietluxtour, suggested that tourism businesses can rely on a green travel pass to welcome guests who have fully received two doses and have tested negative for the virus to safe destinations such as Phu Quoc, then learn from the experience and replicate it to other destinations when tourism demand increases.
“To build a tour, businesses must develop products, promote, and associate with other product and service providers, and then sell the tour to customers. But businesses cannot suspend operations like before if there is an F0 on the tour itinerary. Management agencies and local authorities need to come up with a clear roadmap to help businesses and tourists have solutions in each situation,” Dung suggested.
Nguyen Minh Man, director of marketing and communications at TST Tourist, said that Asia’s international tourist centres such as Thailand and Singapore are still taking steps to welcome international tourists back and Vietnam can learn from them. “It is necessary to quickly develop and apply some type of travel permit to operate international flights to some European and American countries. Thailand and Singapore have had a number of trials to welcome international visitors, and Vietnam can also experiment to find suitable opportunities for the tourism industry to recover soon,” Man said.