Vietnam's business hub Ho Chi Minh City will first resume interprovincial tours from November 1 before re-launching international tourism activities in early 2022, according to its plan for tourism recovery from COVID-19.
The plan has been launched as the southern city and the country in general are loosening strict COVID-19 restrictions to resume socio-economic activities under 'new normal conditions,' a phrase the Vietnamese government uses to describe its new strategy of living safely with the coronavirus.
Accordingly, the tourism recovery will follow a three-phase roadmap that requires strict compliance with epidemic prevention measures.
In the first phase, which lasts from now to October 31, the city will reopen local tourism activities in "green zones", meaning areas without known COVID-19 infection cases.
People can select tours organized by travel companies or go by themselves to destinations in districts where the pandemic has been put under control.
Hotels and accommodation establishments, as well as tourist attractions, in such areas can operate at no more than 50 percent of their capacity, subject to their meeting safe tourism criteria.
The second stage will commence from November 1 to the end of this year, during which intercity tourism will be allowed, mainly for green zones.
Locals, in addition to traveling within the city, may enjoy trips to other localities, and people outside the city may visit the city's tourist attractions.
In this phase, the allowable capacity limit for both accommodation service providers and tourist sites is raised to 70 percent provided they meet the safe criteria.
Some other services, including dine-in catering, may be allowed, subject to epidemic control situations.
In the last stage, that will begin from January 1, 2022, international tourism operations will be resumed along with domestic travel tours, based on actual epidemic control results at home and aboard.
In this phase, all tourist products are expected to be resumed without limitations, provided the operators ensure the principles of living safely with coronavirus.
At a meeting on October 9, the Ministry of Health reported that Vietnam has basically kept the COVID-19 pandemic at bay, with new infections and deaths falling markedly across the country, especially in the country's epidemic epicenters, including Ho Chi Minh City.
When the pandemic hit the country in early 2020, the city has suffered the most with 412,978 patients and 16,093 deaths, the Ministry of Health reported on Friday.
However, the city's daily coronavirus fatality has declined drastically, from 340 cases on August 22 to 123 on September 25, 78 on October 8, and 61 on Friday.
Nationwide, 857,639 infections have been recorded, including 788,923 recoveries and 21,043 fatalities, in 62 out of the country's 63 cities and provinces, except Cao Bang.
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