The resumption of foreigners’ entry into Vietnam—mostly investors, technical experts, highly skilled workers and business executives—is one of the urgent tasks to be done to spur economic growth while Vietnam has to remain vigilant to the coronavirus. This task can be as well a type of on-the-spot investment promotion.
During a meeting of the Government’s standing committee on Covid-19 on September 11, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc requested the Ministry of Transport to instruct local air carriers to consider the resumption of international commercial flights linking Vietnam with some countries and regions.
It is understandable that Vietnam is taking due caution in both effectively fighting the pandemic and spurring socio-economic growth. As a result, foreign experts will come to Vietnam much to the expectations of enterprises which are desperately in need of mentors in hard times.
The arrivals of foreign experts and business people will also contribute to the stimulus plans for Vietnam’s service sectors and will subsequently enhance the possibility of recovery of other industries.
Furthermore, their arrivals after a long time of hiatus give Vietnam a chance to improve its prestige among foreign visitors if she is able to make necessary preparations for their life in Vietnam and ensure a safe environment while they are here.
Four- or five-star quarantine services should be promoted
Foreign experts are the most likely to use high-quality services. They are expected to request high-quality services in almost all circumstances.
However, different from normal conditions, Covid-19 raging on globally put foreign experts and investors entering Vietnam at this moment in a position that they have to comply with some regulations on preventing and fighting the coronavirus, such as taking test and staying in quarantine places for some time. What matters is the Vietnamese authorities should pay attention to making these preventive measures more comfortable for them so that they can feel satisfied when first setting foot in Vietnam.
When international commercial flights between Vietnam and foreign destinations resume, the number of foreign arrivals will become much bigger. And accommodation is the first to be considered by these people. Currently, enterprises in need of foreign experts still have trouble in finding quality accommodation for the latter.
Effective regulations rule that accommodation facilities have to meet certain requirements to be qualified for this purpose. Provincial authorities have announced their lists of accommodation facilities allowed to welcome foreign guests of this category. However, the number of these facilities is limited, failing to meet demand of both quality and quantity. Many foreign experts want their accommodation to be equal to four- or five-star hotels. Although they know well that moving is limited during the quarantine time, they also need a good living space to be self-assured. As this service charges them, it must be appropriate to experts’ requirements.
At present, Vietnam’s accommodation service is almost inactive nationwide. Therefore, it should be a good chance for amelioration. Accommodation enterprises should come up actively with their plans to provide this service for foreign experts. On their part, the concerned authorities should support businesses in securing safety at their facilities.
If these accommodation facilities are attractive enough, experts may elect to remain at the venues where they work so that it will be more convenient for them instead of living in big cities as is the case now. Enterprises in need of foreign experts are also likely to use services related to tourism and conferences. This may be the next step if the accommodation facility involved can provide such a service.
Safety is the best policy
Another crucial point is enterprises need to be instructed in detail about how to prepare for welcoming foreign experts and investors who must be safe both at work and at home.
To date, accommodation services have not received ample instructions on what to do next after experts/investors end the quarantine time and receive negative test results. These businesses have had to seek replies from all the agencies they consider relevant and received different answers from different localities.
As in the coming time the number of foreign experts/investors arriving in Vietnam will be much bigger, together with a bigger risk of pandemic infection, the related authorities should give written instructions to businesses in pandemic-fighting measures for experts/investors and the venues where they will work and live. This move will surely secure the safety of both foreign experts/investors and local communities.
The expected new wave of foreign expert/investor arrivals requires related agencies to build more congruous plans in fighting the pandemic. At the same time, it will enable businesses to provide better services for the sake of economic development.
The concerned authorities should also consider enterprises in need of foreign experts/investors a link in the chain and provide them with procedures for inviting foreign experts/investors and what to do next after the quarantine time. This is a crucial factor in improving the quality of the local investment environment.
Keeping Vietnam a safe destination backed by meticulous policies on foreign expert arrivals during the current pandemic time will be a plus to foreign investors when they make a decision on a new destination.
What’s more, while conducting overseas investment roadshows is out of the question these days, this gives us a chance to carry out on-the-spot investment promotion.
By Pham Thi Ngoc Thang