The tourism ministry of Vietnam proposed on Tuesday this week a full reopening of the country’s border starting as early as 15th March. The proposal submitted to the Prime Minister was approved yesterday on the 16th of Feb as part of the 4-phase revival plan for the country’s tourism market outlined back in 2021. This follows attempts to bring in tourists with recognised vaccine passports to designated destinations such as Phu Quoc Island and Nha Trang as part of the sandbox scheme that started last November. The release of border restrictions is believed to have a significant impact on tourism for Vietnam as numerous SE Asian countries have successively announced the reopening of their borders earlier in the month.

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Phu Quoc Island was one of the destinations to pilot the sandbox scheme to revitalise tourism in Vietnam |©VietnamBriefing

As part of the 4-phase revival plan to reopen its borders, the Ministry of Tourism is proposing the “full opening” of the country’s border by 15th March. The proposal involves the removal of all restrictions on visa issuance, including those for international tourists, as well as all additional entry procedures to enter the country to pre-pandemic measures. The 4th phase of the original plan was originally due in June this year but was moved ahead of schedule after attaining a vaccination rate of nearly 80% of its population according to official data.

Restrictions of number of flights lifted

Phase two of the revival plan consists of a restriction of the number of flights to 70% until the 10th of April, with a reference point of how the industry was doing before the 4th wave hit the country. This restriction was lifted yesterday on the 15th of February, effectively moving the plan forward to phase 4, allowing the number of flights to increase to 100% of the pre-pandemic level.

VJ receiving 1st A330
Vietnamese airlines are preparing for their return to the international market | © Airbus Media

No more Border restrictions arriving in Vietnam from 15th March

Tourists arriving from the 15th March will not have to have joined the designated tours and routes as in the pilot period of the isolated tourism scheme. Vaccinated tourists are required to provide a negative test result 24 hours for rapid tests or 72 hours for PCR tests before boarding. Visitors are also required to install a minimum of one health tracking application approved by the Ministry of Health during their stay in the country.

Fierce competition between SE Asian tourist destinations.

After putting the Thailand Pass application on halt in early January due to the rising number of positive cases in Thailand for weeks, Thailand had announced that Thailand Pass is available again after the 1st of February. Vaccinated travellers arriving in Thailand are not required to be quarantined when complying with requirements of either the Test and Go scheme or via the Sandbox programmes. Full details can be read here.

Apart from Thailand, the Philippines have also announced its loosening of restrictions on the 9th Feb, replacing facility-based quarantines with a seven-day self-monitored period. Vaccinated travellers with negative PCR test results are able to enter the country if their place of origin is on the list.

With more countries like Malaysia planning to reopen in early March, SE Asian countries are eager to get a first slice of the cake after nearly two years of desolation brought by the pandemic. Now that Vietnam has announced it is reopening to the world, will you be planning your next trip to the country? Which is your favourite SE Asian destination?

 

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