Phased Reopening of International Travel to Vietnam

In the recent past, Vietnam has achieved positive results in controlling the Covid-19 epidemic. In addition, Vietnam is also successfully promoting the vaccination campaign with the goal of achieving herd immunity by vaccinating 70% of the population by the end of 2021. At the moment, Vietnam has not determined when to open borders for international tourism on a national scale. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (“the MOCST”) is closely coordinating with other ministries to urgently develop and issue guidelines for welcoming international tourists to Vietnam during the first stage of tourism re-opening process.

According to information from Government sources, in the latest meeting between the Government and authorities of key tourism localities such as Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Da Nang and Quang Ninh on October 21, 2021, it was proposed to open international tourism in three phases, in the following manner:

Phase 1: from November 2021

Vietnam plans to pilot international arrivals through package tourism programs, charter flights and commercial flights in Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), Cam Ranh (Khanh Hoa), Quang Nam, and Da Nang.

During this period, it  is required to show details of the pick-up schedule at the destination area. Visitors who have completed the tour program at the first destination within 7 days, and want to visit other destinations must undergo testing according to regulations of the Ministry of Health.

Phase 2: from January 2022

Vietnam plans to expand tourism to international visitors by connecting destinations through regular charter and international flights. Visitors can participate in tourism programs combining multiple destinations after completing the tour program at the first destination within 7 days. The first connecting destinations are Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa), Da Nang, Quang Nam, and Quang Ninh.

In addition to the above five localities, other localities that want to welcome international visitors can apply for a pilot program to welcome tourists, in accordance with the vaccine strategy and epidemic situation in that locality and such program must be approved by the ‘MOCST’.

Phase 3: from the second quarter of 2022

Vietnam is expected to fully reopen to the international tourists on the condition that the epidemic prevention and control plans are successfully implemented in accordance with regulations.

It is expected that those who want to enter Vietnam for tourism will have to carry “vaccine passports”, must ensure disease safety criteria, and have been fully vaccinated, or have recovered from Covid-19 within 6 months prior to arrival in Vietnam. Visitors must also be tested according to regulations of the Ministry of Health. Currently, the tourism industry also proposes to give priority to welcoming international visitors from potential markets with high success in prevention of the Covid-19 epidemic. In addition, Vietnam is expected to issue specific regulations on the accompanying epidemic prevention measures before reopening to international tourism.

In fact, Phu Quoc has been planning to welcome international tourists since October this year. However, this plan was not implemented on time due to the low vaccination rate in this locality. In addition, Vietnam has not yet issued specific instructions on the visa process, entry and exit procedures and isolation rules for “vaccine passport holders” when entering Vietnam for tourism purpose. This is making the progress of opening up to international tourism slower than expected.

In general, Vietnam is still quite cautious and vigilant in opening its borders to international tourists after a long period of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. From the government’s point of view, safety is considered the top factor when reopening to international tourism. Therefore, in the coming time, the government will consider issuing specific documents guiding the welcome of international tourists and piloting safe opening to restart the domestic tourism industry and develop the economy.

This article is based on the current laws at the above recorded time and may no longer be relevant at the time readers access this article due to changes in applicable law and specific cases which the readers want to apply. Therefore, this article is for reference only.

Src: PLF Law Firm