Phu Quoc moves closer to trialing vaccine passports

The tourism ministry plans to trial a six-month vaccine passport program in Phu Quoc Island from October, and hopes to receive 40,000 foreign tourists during the period.

The draft proposal by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said 2,000-3,000 foreigners would come to Phu Quoc every month by charter flights during the first three months of the trial, and only be allowed to stay in sequestered resorts and tourist areas approved by it.

In the next three months the number would increase to 5,000-10,000 with tourists arriving by commercial flights.

Some of Vietnam's major tourism markets with high Covid-19 vaccine coverage the ministry is eyeing include China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the U.S., Germany, Russia, the U.K. and France.

To enter Phu Quoc, foreign tourists need to furnish a vaccination certificate showing they have got two shots of a Covid vaccine approved by Vietnam. The second shot must have been taken between 14 days and 12 months before the date of entry.

Those who had Covid and have recovered must furnish a certificate from the country of treatment. The discharge date must have been within the previous 12 months.

Besides, visitors must present a negative result in a PCR test done within 72 hours before departure.

The ministry also hopes to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the island's population and everyone working in the tourism industry by September to ensure herd immunity.

The ministry is working with other agencies and authorities in the southern Kien Giang Province, home to Phu Quoc, to finalize the draft plan later this month before submitting to the government for approval.

Tourism officials said Vietnam's largest island is relatively isolated from the mainland and has adequate infrastructure such as airport and accommodation, making it convenient to pilot the vaccine passport program.

Phu Quoc has become a top tourist destination since 2014 when the government began to allow foreigners visa-free entry for 30 days.

Tourism is the mainstay of its economy, and last year the number of international tourists fell by 76.1 percent.

Vietnam closed its borders and canceled all international flights in March last year.


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