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Vietnam to reopen island to vaccinated tourists

2021-10-23 HKT 11:31
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  • A beach on Phu Quoc, the island Hanoi is promoting as Vietnam's answer to Bali and Phuket. File image: Shutterstock
    A beach on Phu Quoc, the island Hanoi is promoting as Vietnam's answer to Bali and Phuket. File image: Shutterstock
Vietnam plans to reopen the resort island of Phu Quoc to vaccinated foreign visitors in late November, authorities said, as the country looks to reboot its tourism industry after almost two years of closure.

Phu Quoc, which lies around 10 kilometres off Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand, boasts white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters, as well as mountains and thick jungle.

It attracted around 670,000 visitors and earned more than US$18 billion dollars from international arrivals in 2019, with authorities hoping to turn it into a tourist destination in the style of Thailand's Phuket or Indonesia's Bali.

From November 20, "charter flights" for international travellers with vaccine passports will be welcomed to the island, the government said late on Friday.

After that, between late December and the end of March, the island aims to receive up to 5,000 foreign arrivals on similar charter flights.

Tourists will need to show vaccine certificates together with a negative Covid-19 test result before being allowed in.

According to authorities, they should come from places with "a high safety record on Covid-19 prevention, like some parts of Europe, the Middle East, North East Asia, Southeast Asia, North America and Australia".

A previous plan to open Phu Quoc to international visitors in October was abandoned due to low vaccination rates among residents.

But the Southeast Asian country is desperate to revive its economy after months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to state media, authorities also want to open popular destinations such as Unesco world heritage site Ha Long Bay and the ancient town of Hoi An to foreign travellers in November, but no clear plan has been outlined. (AFP)