VIETNAM to reopen international tourism from 15 March

The Vietnamese government has agreed to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism’s proposal to fully reopen tourism to foreign travellers in its ‘new normal’ period starting from March 15.

In the latest announcement, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam urged the tourism ministry to promptly finalize and announce a plan for the resumption of tourism and provide detailed instructions for localities to implement it.

He also tasked the ministry with issuing protocols for welcoming back foreign tourists.

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Under the current regulations, Vietnam unilaterally waives visa requirements for citizens of 13 countries, namely Japan, South Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Belarus, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.

In addition, Vietnam and 88 other countries and territories have reached an agreement on visa exemption.

The government has halted entry to foreign tourists from March 22, 2020, due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam.

Foreign arrivals to Vietnam fell to 157,000 last year, compared with 18 million in 2019, according to the General Statistics Office.

The country began to welcome back foreign tourists from November 2021 under a pilot program following its successful mass vaccination drive, with 186,479,340 doses having been administered to date.

With the new tourism reopening plan in place, all visa policies before the pandemic would be resumed, including those on electronic visa issuance.

Incoming tourists would only be required to have proof of full vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 and a negative test result certificate issued within 24 hours for rapid tests and 72 hours for the real-time RT-PCR method before departure, while a one-day quarantine requirement would remain effective.

International visitors entering via land border would be tested at border gates before their entry.

Insurance fees would also be mandatory for all international arrivals.

Vietnam announced a record of 31,814 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, adding to the more than 2.54 million infections so far.

It has recorded about 39,000 deaths overall.

Nearly 77 per cent of its 98 million population have been vaccinated, according to the national COVID-19 vaccination portal.