Vietnam’s travel industry is on its path to recovery. After reopening some destinations to fully vaccinated travelers, the country is now eyeing to restart international commercial flights in a three-phase plan, starting January next year.
The Ministry of Transport sought the approval of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chin to resume flights to 15 countries and territories that have high vaccination rates. Under the proposal submitted on Monday, commercial flights from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, France, Germany, Russia, UK, and Australia can enter the country.
According to the ministry, the selected countries have vaccinated a significant population and have proven safety measures against COVID-19. Travelers from these areas will be allowed to enter Vietnam through a combo package that covers all airfares, quarantine fees, and COVID-19 tests.
A report from Vietnam Government Portal added that passengers with “vaccine passport” will not be required to undergo mandatory quarantine but they will have to isolate themselves at places of residence.
During the first phase in January, Vietnam expects to operate four return flights weekly to each country, carrying 12,000 passengers per week. Flight frequencies would be increased to seven per week, depending on the demand.
For fully vaccinated visitors going to the five destinations designated for quarantine-free travel, centralized quarantines won’t be necessary.
For passengers entering other destinations, the following requirements should be followed:
7-day health quarantine
Vaccination certificate or official documents proving they’ve recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months
Proof of payment for pre-booked quarantine accommodation and transportation
Passengers who have not been fully vaccinated will have to take a 14-day quarantine.
The second phase of the flight resumption plan is expected to start from the second quarter of 2022. The ministry said it would work on eliminating centralized health quarantine from fully vaccinated visitors.
In the third phase starting from the third quarter of next year, regular commercial international flights will resume based on the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam and the world. Airlines will be allowed to decide flight routes and flight frequency themselves.
Heavily dependent on the international market, the country’s travel industry sees the resumption of commercial flights as a long-awaited indication of recovery after nearly two years of border closure. According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam recorded only 3.8 million foreign arrivals last year, a sharp drop from 18 million in 2019.