Phu Quoc will be Vietnam’s ‘test’ island as it re-opens to foreign tourists

Vietnam’s Phu Quoc, the tourist island off the coast of Cambodia in the eastern Gulf of Thailand, is going to start allowing foreign arrivals on a trial basis as part of Vietnam’s roadmap to re-opening to international tourism. As an island the trial will be a more controlled rehearsal for wider re-openings to tourists around Vietnam in the future.

Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Trinh Thi Thuy says his ministry has been working on a pilot plan to attract international tourists to select islands, Phu Quoc among those considered.

“Tougher measures should be taken to prevent another outbreak of Covid-19.”

Vietnam mostly dodged the Covid-19 bullet with only 26 cases patients still undergoing treatment and has managed to avoid deaths. In total the country has had only 329 reported cases of Covid-19 in a country of 97 million. There has been no community transmission in the last 49 days.

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The ministry has assigned the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and Vietnam Tourism Association to start promoting the island, off southern Vietnam’s Mekong delta, to international tourists.

“There are people living there and domestic tourists visit them, and so the risks of community transmission must be taken into account while allowing international visitors back.”

“We are working with the Health Ministry to develop a set of criteria to ensure safety for international visitors. The tourism industry only wants to receive visitors from countries where the disease has been controlled.”

The tourism ministry is consulting with other ministries on air routes, visa issuance and lifting of travel restrictions for tourists from several countries and regions that have managed to control the pandemic, including Thailand.

The ministry looks to kick-start international tourism by reopening its doors to visitors from some select markets where the Covid-19 pandemic has been controlled – Japan, South Korea and China, Thailand, Australia and New Zealander are some of the countries under consideration for early re-entry back onto Vietnam islands.

Phu Quoc, dubbed ‘pearl island’, has become a popular tourist destination after it built an international airport in 2012 and the government instigated a 30 day visa-free policy for foreigners 6 years ago. Over the past year there were flights from Thailand with Bangkok Airways (out of Bangkok) and via Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia.

The island received over five million visitors last year, up 30% from 2018, including 541,600 foreigners. The country, like most of south east Asia, currently has a ban on scheduled international commercial aviation.

Phu Quoc will be Vietnam's 'test' island as it re-opens to foreign tourists | News by Thaiger

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