Vietnam imposed strict border controls at the start of the pandemic in an effort to avoid COVID-19, with some initial success, but this has hurt its booming tourism sector, which typically accounts for around 10%. of gross domestic product.
From December, Vietnam will also allow tourists from approved countries to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay and Hoi An, the highland town of Dalat and the beach destination of Nha Trang. It is not yet clear which countries will meet the criteria.
“We are only open when it is really safe,” the government said in a statement.
“We are moving step by step, cautiously but flexibly to adapt to the real situations of the pandemic. “
The move follows similar steps taken by neighboring Thailand, which will next month expand the locations of its pilot program to allow visitors to be vaccinated.
Foreign arrivals to Vietnam fell to 3.8 million last year, from 18 million in 2019, when tourism revenues stood at $ 31 billion, equivalent to 12% of GDP.
The country is trying to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations, with just 13% of its 98 million people vaccinated so far, one of the lowest rates in Asia.