By Alison Fox
Oct 14, 2021
VIETNAM HAS ANNOUNCED a gradual reopening plan that will begin in November and extend to welcoming some vaccinated tourists to major cities by December. The country hopes to have its borders fully open by June 2022, Reuters reported — more than two years since the coronavirus pandemic forced border closures around the globe.
In November, Vietnam — known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world — said it would reopen the island of Phu Quoc to vaccinated foreign travelers, CNN reported. And in December, Vietnam expects to extend that opening to major tourist destinations like Hoi An, Halong Bay, Nha Trang, and Dalat.
“We are only open when it’s truly safe,” the government told Reuters in a statement. “We are moving step by step, cautiously but flexibly to adapt to real situations of the pandemic.”
Vietnam currently has adopted some of the strictest border rules in the world and tourists from the United States are not allowed to enter, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Vietnam. Travelers granted an exception must get tested before arrival and must quarantine.
So far, 37.3% of people in Vietnam have received at least a first dose of a vaccine but only 12.7% are fully vaccinated, according to Reuters, which is tracking the vaccine rollout around the world.
The Vietnam reopening, affecting tourist-heavy areas of the country, follows a similar model adopted by nearby Thailand, which opened its Phuket Sandbox program in July, followed by the Samui Plus program on Koh Samui — both of which allow quarantine-free visits by vaccinated international arrivals within certain parameters. Last week, Thailand shortened the required stay period for the programs to only seven days, and on November 1 the country plans to reopen several areas to vaccinated tourists, including Bangkok.
Vietnam isn’t the only country to push off a full reopening until next year. Australia has also said it won’t welcome foreign tourists until at least some time in 2022.