Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island welcomes back first tourists since March 2020

 Monday, November 22, 2021 


More than 200 foreign tourists arrived on the country’s largest island, Phu Quoc, on Saturday, the first to visit after nearly two years of border closure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fully vaccinated travellers from South Korea will spend their holidays in hotel resorts without a mandatory 14-day quarantine. They were tested for the coronavirus on arrival, and once the negative results are returned, they can join activities including sightseeing, shopping and entertainment events that require vaccine certificates.

The program is among the country’s efforts to revive its tourism industry while reopening and developing the economy step by step under a new normal context, said Nguyen Trung Khanh, Chairman of Vietnam’s Administration of Tourism who welcomed the charter flight on the airport tarmac.

According to the Health Ministry, all staff members in service facilities and 99% of Phu Quoc’s adult residents have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The island plans to vaccinate children ages 12 to 17 next month.

Vietnam closed its border in March 2020, shortly after confirming its first COVID-19 case.

Since then, it allowed several international flights a week carrying foreign experts, diplomats and returning Vietnamese nationals.
Those international arrivals must undergo a 14-day quarantine in designated hotels or government-run facilities.

Vietnam is the latest Asian nation to open to fully vaccinated visitors. Thailand limited tourists to its southern Phuket island before expanding to other areas, including Bangkok, since Nov. 1. The Indonesian island of Bali opened to arrivals last month under some restrictions including testing and a five-day hotel quarantine, and Malaysia opened Langkawi island under a pilot bubble program.

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