HCMC to reopen inter-provincial tourism from next month

 HCMC to reopen inter-provincial tourism from next month

An aerial view of downtown HCMC at night. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Ngoc Dung

Ho Chi Minh City, a major tourist hub, plans to resume tourism with other localities where Covid has been under control from Nov. 1 until the year-end.

The initiative is part of a three-phased tourism recovery program approved by city authorities to adapt to the new-normal period as the southern metropolis seeks to recover its already-hurt tourism industry.

During the first phase from now until the end of this month, the city would only reopen intra-provincial tourism, allowing residents to travel within the city.

Accommodation facilities and tourist attractions in green zones are allowed to welcome back tourists but at half their maximum capacity.

Travel companies are only permitted to organize tour packages to ‘green zones’, deemed to pose low Covid-19 spreading risks as regulated by the Health Ministry.

People living and working in the city can book tour package or self-organize tours to popular attractions in areas with the pandemic situation brought under control.

During this phase, city tourism authorities would focus on developing tours to historical sites and eco-tourist destinations like Duoc Tunnels Historical Site, Hi-Tech Agricultural Park, Rin Rin Park, Trung An fruit village, Vam Sat tourist area, Sac Forest Tourism Area, 3D Museum and Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street (Chinatown), which specializes in traditional medicines.

Starting from early November, the city would reopen inter-provincial tourism with cities or provinces that have basically controlled the outbreak.

During this phase, the city would offer combo tour package and reintroduce the double-decker bus tour and take tourists to more destinations with open spaces such as the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden, Dam Sen and Suoi Tien theme parks.

The city would also provide services transporting foreign tourists to Phu Quoc and other destinations allowed to serve international visitors at the time.

In the second phase, accommodation facilities and tourist attractions in green zones will be allowed to welcome back tourists but at 70 percent of their maximum capacity.

Travel companies can organize tour programs to ‘green localities’ depending on the pandemic situation and welcome tourists from outside the city.

In 2022, the city plans to resume all tourism activities and consider welcoming back fully vaccinated foreign travelers.

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 415,000 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 Oct. 1.

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