VITA proposes opening doors to tourists with vaccine passports
By Dao Loan
|Vietnam attracted many international tourists before the Covid-19 outbreak. The Vietnam Tourism Association has proposed reopening the tourism market to tourists holding vaccine passports – PHOTO: DAO LOAN|
HCMC – The Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) has proposed that the Government allow it to collaborate with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to welcome back international tourists holding vaccine passports, digital proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
According to VITA, since the Covid-19 pandemic forced the country to close its doors to international tourists, many travel companies have turned to domestic tourism. The number of local tourists at some attractions has even been higher than pre-pandemic levels.
However, as revenues from domestic tourism account for only 30% of the total, resuming international tourism is still a priority.
VITA said Vietnam can begin resuming international tourism as Vietnamese travel companies have effectively implemented anti-Covid-19 measures. Moreover, the spread of Covid-19 has eased in parts of the world thanks to massive vaccination campaigns.
Covid-19 vaccine passports will be an effective tool to resume tourism services. Some countries in the region have decided to use digital health passes to help the tourism sector recover.
Therefore, VITA suggested the Government allow it and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to receive tourists from certain countries that have seen steady declines in Covid-19 cases.
Speaking to The Saigon Times, VITA chairman Nguyen Huu Tho said Vietnam should prioritize opening the market to tourists from the Asia-Pacific region, which account for 75% of the country's total international arrivals. Many countries in this region have also effectively fought the pandemic.
Besides, VITA said the Government should introduce more incentives and supporting policies for travel companies. In addition to incentives on taxes, fees and electricity payment, the association suggested the Government allow travel companies to change their inbound certificates into domestic tourism certificates because since the pandemic broke out until now, travel companies have only been able to serve local tourists.
Data of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism showed that as of late 2020, there were more than 2,500 inbound travel companies in the country. To obtain an inbound certificate, travel companies have to deposit VND500 million, while it is just VND100 million for a domestic tourism certificate.
VITA once again suggested offering accommodation facilities the same electricity prices as production facilities in line with the Politburo's Resolution No. 08/NQ-TW and the Government's Resolution No. 103/NQ-CP.
The association also proposed halving value added tax and reducing land tax for tourism companies in 2021. Excise tax for golf courses should also be cut by half.
After hearing these suggestions, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to work with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and other ministries and departments to conduct research on appropriate policies to support businesses in the tourism sector. The proposals will be submitted to the prime minister for review and approval in the second quarter of this year.
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