Vietnam’s resort island welcomes first tourists after nearly 2 years – .

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Vietnam’s resort island welcomes first tourists after nearly 2 years – .


HANOI, Nov.20 (Reuters) – Two hundred vaccinated foreign tourists arrived on Vietnam’s beach-lined island of Phu Quoc on Saturday, the first wave of visitors to the country in nearly two years as it seeks to resuscitate its tourist economy ravaged by the pandemic.

Vietnam imposed strict border controls at the start of the pandemic in an effort to keep COVID-19 from entering, with some initial success, but this has hurt its burgeoning tourism sector, which typically represents about 10% of gross domestic product.

Vaccinated tourists now no longer have to undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine, authorities say, but are required to enjoy their vacation only inside the mega Vinpearl resort and will be tested twice during their trip.

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“This is the vital first step to revive our tourism sector and prepare for full recovery next year,” said Nguyen Trung Khanh, chairman of the country’s tourism administration.

“We want to offer tourists a new experience in the midst of a new normal that they can fully experience in Phu Quoc and then fully experience in Vietnam,” Khanh added.

Island authorities plan to welcome 400,000 national and international tourists by the end of the year.

Other Vietnamese destinations such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hoi An and Danang Beach also welcome international tourists.

The move follows similar steps taken by neighboring Thailand, which welcomed foreign tourists vaccinated for a quarantine-free vacation earlier this month.

Foreign arrivals to Vietnam fell from 18 million in 2019, when tourism revenues were $ 31 billion, or nearly 12% of its gross domestic product, to 3.8 million last year.

Vietnam, which has vaccinated more than half of its 98 million inhabitants, is looking to resume international commercial flights from January next year and is considering a full reopening of tourism from June.

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Editing by Michael Perry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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