21 December

The government has approved the resumption of international flights between Vietnam and nine destinations that have managed high vaccination rates and good pandemic control on January 1.

They are San Francisco or Los Angeles (the U.S.), Singapore, Bangkok (Thailand), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Vientiane (Laos), Beijing/Guangzhou (China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), and Taipei (Taiwan).

In the second phase, scheduled from January 16, the flights on routes connecting Vietnam and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Hong Kong, Paris (France), Frankfurt (Germany), Sydney (Australia), and Moscow (Russia) will be added.

With regard to the recent pilot program, since the country reopened to international tourism last month, over 1,100 visitors have arrived on commercial flights to Quang Nam, Quang Ninh, Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, and Da Nang City, and the tourism industry expects to welcome back 15,000 tourists by the end of this month.

The resumption of regular flights is meant to restore international passenger transport activities, speed up economic and tourism recovery and enable overseas Vietnamese to return to their homeland for the upcoming Lunar New Year, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said in a government directive.

He also stressed that while the resumption of flights is necessary, effective pandemic control must continue.

The Ministry of Health has been instructed to consult experts, businesses, and the public to issue fresh entry guidelines for people coming on regular international flights.

The foreign affairs ministry will continue negotiations to reach agreements with other countries and territories on mutual recognition of “vaccine passports,” with priority for areas to where flights will first resume.

The health, public security and information and communications ministries will soon release the medical declaration software for use by air travelers and businesses and for monitoring and tracking visitors.

Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam on Wednesday instructed the health ministry to scrap the seven-day mandatory quarantine and allow fully vaccinated passengers to self-isolate on arrival.

Vietnamese carriers and travel firms are preparing to revive their businesses on the premise of the government approving the resumption of international flights. Is this a recipe for a tourist revival when the new variant Omicron could halt all this as the virus seems to bypass the existing vaccines and many countries are advising their citizens not to travel? Furthermore, foreign tourists may be in the dark and have no idea where to visit without concerning the sudden lockdown.

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