Tourism and culture minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien encourages people to go on travelling within the country as a key means to boost the ailing sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a "foundation" to economic recovery.
Kayaking in Trang An, Ninh Binh Province.
He made the remarks during the ongoing National Assembly meeting to discuss the socio-economic situation in the country.
"I request and cordially invite Vietnamese people to go touring in the country," minister Thien said, adding that the entire tourism sector has been preparing "the best conditions" for domestic travelling as tasked by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc under the campaign "Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam" after the coronavirus situation in the country has been well under control with 60 days of no community transmission cases.
Localities in the country are conducting tourism promotion activities and trying to come up with new tourism products.
All localities in the country are conducting robust tourism promotion activities, coming up with new tourism products and trying to highlight the message of Vietnam as a safe destination as a way to welcome international tourists as soon as possible, minister Thien continued.
Citing Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in the cabinet meeting held last week, minister Thien reiterated that Vietnam cannot "just close its doors completely," referring to the country's border closures against foreign arrivals effective since late March to fight off coronavirus spread.
However, this door will not open too widely until we can ascertain the safety level of each country, the tourism and culture chief said, adding that public health is always the highest priority even at the cost of economic benefits, he said.
"We will closely watch the pandemic situation in each country in the world to cooperate with other sectors and agencies and have appropriate advice for the Government regarding gradual reopening," Thien said.
He outlined four phases of tourism reopening post-COVID-19, saying that Vietnam is currently in the first one where domestic tourism is available and encouraged.
In the second phase, Vietnam will start cautious "tourist exchanges" with countries deemed to be safe – the criteria of what constitutes "safe" is still under consideration but likely to be a country with no local community infections for 30 days.
In the third phase, Vietnam will start expanding the list of regional countries from which tourists can enter Vietnam, and in the fourth and final phase, international arrivals will be returning to the "pre-COVID-19 normal".
He also warned that the "competition for international tourists" between countries after the coronavirus subsides will be "fierce", as everyone will be trying their hardest to seize on the chance as quick as possible to revive the economy and recoup the losses. VNS
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