HCMC – The local tourism industry is expected to pilot welcoming international tourists to the Phu Quoc Island City in the Mekong Delta in six months starting this October, and has set out some requirements for tour operators to receive foreign travelers.
The pilot program will be organized in two phases and be applied to visitors booking package tours offered by travel agencies, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Under the pilot plan, tour operators have to work out specific plans to receive and manage tourist groups to ensure Covid safety, offer quality services and strictly comply with financial and tax obligations, among others.
All the people involved in the receiving of tourists must be fully vaccinated, with the second dose taken at least 14 days before welcoming the tourists. They also have to join Covid-safe training courses organized by the provincial centers for disease control.
Aside from having an international travel business license, tour operators need to meet requirements such as having been operational for three years or more and having received at least 30,000 foreign visitors to Vietnam annually.
Their tourism markets also have to be aligned with those selected by the local tourism authority for the pilot program.
As for lodging facilities, they have to be three- to five-star ones and have separate accommodation zones for international tourists to ensure the medical supervision of foreign tourists will not affect other guests. They have to set up quarantine zones and separate rooms to collect samples for Covid testing.
Units transporting foreign travelers have to meet Covid-safe requirements and offer good services.
According to the tourism ministry, many ministries and agencies will join the implementation of this pilot program.
The Ministry of Health will provide Covid vaccines and launch a mass vaccination drive for residents and employees in Phu Quoc. The national health authority is responsible for regulating vaccination certificates and procedures to collect samples from foreign visitors for testing, issuing guidelines to receive the tourists and helping address the problems that may arise during the pilot program.
Regarding requirements for international tourists, they have to be fully vaccinated, have a Covid vaccination certificate or one proving they have recovered from Covid. They also have to undergo a Covid PCR test 72 hours prior to departure and have a negative Covid testing certificate issued in English by the authorized agencies.
In addition, foreign travelers are required to book package tours and own medical and travel insurance. Children under 12 have to travel with their parents or guardians that are fully vaccinated.
Further, the tourism markets in Europe, the United States and some countries in northeast Asia are expected to send tourists to Phu Quoc under the pilot plan.
During the first three months of the pilot program, Vietnam is expected to welcome 3,000-5,000 international visitors per month via charter flights.
If the first phase generates a good outcome, the local tourism sector would scale up the pilot program, raising the number of tourists to 5,000-10,000 per month in the second phase, with the operation of regular international flights taken into account.