HCMC not ready to welcome foreign tourists this year
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Foreign tourists take cyclo rides in downtown HCMC, 2019. Photo by Shutterstock/Jimmy Tran
Ho Chi Minh City, a major tourist hub, will only consider welcoming back foreign tourists from next year onwards, with this year's focus being on reviving domestic tourism.
The city will open up its tourism activities in three phases based on the pandemic situation.
During the first phase in October, the city will only allow travel companies to organize one-day tour packages to ‘green zones,’ which are deemed to have low Covid-19 spreading risks such as Cu Chi and Can Gio districts, famous for historical sites and eco-tourism destinations.
People joining these tours must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recovered from the disease. All travel companies, accommodation facilities and tourist destinations must comply with all Covid safety rules.
In the second phase from November until the end of the year, the city will focus on boosting the domestic tourism market, welcoming back tourists from other localities where the pandemic has been brought under control.
In 2022, the city plans to resume all tourism activities and consider welcoming back fully vaccinated foreign tourists.
The city has organized several tours to the outlying districts Can Gio and Cu Chi for Covid-19 frontline workers in gratitude for their contributions to fighting the pandemic.
In the first nine months of this year, the city welcomed only 7.7 million domestic tourists and earned tourism revenues of VND39.5 trillion ($1.73 billion), down 31 percent year-on-year.
HCMC has recorded over 400,000 infections in the ongoing wave. Its high vaccination rate and a strategic shift from a zero-virus strategy to living with the pandemic has enabled the city to lift most restrictions and resume most social-economic activities since October 1.