Visa waivers and eased entry for vaccinated travellers will place Vietnam ahead of her neighbours when she reopens to international visitors on March 15, claim industry players.
While details of entry requirements are still to be confirmed, tourism players have welcomed the move.
Alexander Leven, general manager, Asian Trails Vietnam, said: “(Recovery) really depends on the safety measures that will be implemented. At the moment there are talks of 24-hour quarantine and Covid tests upon arrival – these would definitely prevent many tourists from coming to Vietnam.”
Pre-pandemic, Vietnam had visa waivers in place with 13 countries. The Ministry of Health has lodged an application for them to be reinstated, which is currently awaiting approval. Travel agents say this is crucial for Vietnam to remain competitive.
Jeff Redl, managing director, Diethelm Travel Vietnam, believes that Vietnam has the chance for a successful tourism comeback by implementing the easiest Covid-19 rules and protocols in the region.
He said: “If authorities could agree to open borders without any kind of restriction, we will definitely see a boom in demand. Also, we need urgent clarifications with regards to the visa policy.”
Pham Ha, CEO and founder of Lux Travel DMC, remains doubtful about Vietnam’s short-term inbound recovery, as there is “no hope” for mass tourism from China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taipei.
However, he predicts the western market will start to resurface from May and June.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s reopening announcement has triggered market interest and response.
Lux Travel has received re-bookings from Germany, Spain and France, while Diethelm has reported “an important increase in demand”, especially from France, the UK and Nordic countries.
Redl said: “We are now getting several inquiries on a daily basis and from different source markets. It’s surprising to see how international travellers are eager to plan a trip to Vietnam.”
Leven observes continued regional and longhaul demand for Vietnam, and told TTG Asia that Western European operators are keen to start selling Vietnam as soon as possible.