Phu Quoc hopes to welcome vaccinated Russian tourists soon
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Hon Thom Islet, a popular attraction to foreign tourists on Phu Quoc Island. Photo by VnExpress/Khanh Tran.
Kien Giang Province authorities said fully vaccinated Russian tourists would be the first to be allowed back into Phu Quoc Island under their pilot Covid-19 vaccine passport program.
They would come by charter flights, stay in sequestered resorts on the island and be securely escorted around to limit the risk, Mai Van Huynh, deputy secretary of the Kien Giang Party Committee, said while making the proposal at a meeting with the Ministry of Health on Saturday.
"We will learn from the experience, and in the second phase can open up to more tourists from other countries with high Covid-19 vaccine coverage," Huynh said.
To ensure the safety of the island's 110,000 residents, and speed up the use of vaccine passports, province authorities called on the ministry to prioritize their vaccination.
The 220,000 doses are estimated to cost VND29.3 billion ($1.27 million) for the AstraZeneca vaccine and VND40.3 billion ($1.74 million) for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The province hopes to carry out the first phase of vaccination in July and the second phase in September. If everything goes well, the island could allow foreigners back in by September or October.
The Politburo, the main decision-making body of the Communist Party, earlier this month called for trialing vaccine passports so that foreigners could visit some tourist destinations that have contained the pandemic like Phu Quoc Island.
On Thursday Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh instructed the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to pilot the vaccine passport scheme soon so that tourism could recover in the remaining months of the year.
Phu Quoc has become a top tourist destination after the government allowed foreigners visa-free entry for 30 days starting in 2014.
Tourism is the mainstay of the island’s economy, and last year its number of tourists fell by 30.6 percent, and by 76.1 percent in the case of international tourists.
Vietnam closed its borders and canceled all international flights in March last year.