Pilot vaccine passport program for Phu Quoc nears completion
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Sao Beach on Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province. Photo by Shutterstock/Evgeny Drablenkov.
The tourism ministry is working to complete later this month a pilot Covid-19 vaccine passport program to have foreign tourists back on Phu Quoc Island.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is closely working with authorities in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, home to Phu Quoc, on the pilot program’s content, which will allow tourists from Europe, America and some Asian countries to visit the island.
While several localities have proposed the vaccine passport program for themselves, Phu Quoc has more advantages, deputy tourism minister Doan Van Viet told VnExpress.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest island off the southern coast, is relatively isolated from the mainland with adequate infrastructure such as airport and accommodation facilities, so it is convenient to pilot the vaccine passport program there, he said.
Viet also said that in addition to ensuring safety and preventing the spread of disease in the island and elsewhere, there are many issues that need to be resolved, including passports, immigration, accommodation as well as tourist routes.
The health ministry is preparing to vaccinate for all residents on Phu Quoc Island so that it can reopen its doors to foreigners.
Dr. Vu An Dan, Dean of the Faculty of Tourism of Hanoi Open University, agreed that "Phu Quoc is the ideal place to implement this policy."
Due to its isolation from the mainland, pandemic control on Phu Quoc Island would be easier, he said, explaining that the population was not large, making it possible to vaccinate all residents and those working in the tourism industry, Dan said.
The second place where the vaccine passport program can be applied is in Quang Nam Province, home to the UNESCO heritage site Hoi An, Dan said. Although this locality is not as isolated as Phu Quoc, it has several other favorable conditions, he added.
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 the number of tourists fell by 30.6 percent, with that of international tourists falling 76.1 percent year-on-year.
Vietnam closed its borders and canceled all international flights in March last year. Only Vietnamese repatriates, foreign experts, diplomats, investors, and highly-skilled workers have been allowed since with stringent quarantine requirements.