A group of Vietnamese tourists pose for a photo during their trip in Japan, 2019. Photo courtesy of Vietravel
Vietnam's outbound tourism market is on the way to regaining its bustle with several tours to Asian countries and the Middle East scheduled to depart this Friday.
After Vietnam lifted all restrictions on international flights and countries started relaxing border restrictions and resumed issuing visas to Vietnamese tourists, many travel firms are getting bookings for outbound tour programs.
Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, deputy marketing head of leading tour operator Vietravel, said the company would take a group of 180 tourists from Hanoi to India for a pilgrimage tour on Friday and another group to Dubai on March 4.
HCMC-based travel firm Dat Viet Tour said it would organize a tour to Cambodia on February 26, enabling tourists to watch the finals of the 2022 U23 AFF Youth Championship.
HCMC-based PYS Travel would take 11 tourists to Dubai the same day.
In March and April, Hanoi-based Hanoitours is organizing eight tours to Dubai.
It said tours in March are fully booked and those for April are booked 40 percent.
Hanoitours is preparing to open tour packages to France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands after the European Union member states were advised to remove the ban on non-essential travel for all tourists who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, as well as for those who have recovered from the virus.
Ho Xuan Phuc, general director of the company, also said Dubai and Thailand are currently the destinations with the most relaxed entry rules. Vietnamese tourists to these countries only need to furnish a certificate proving they have been fully vaccinated and a negative PCR test result.
"The outbound tourism market is gradually reviving after nearly two years of struggle. There is great demand for traveling abroad among Vietnamese tourists after a long time of being stuck in the country because of the pandemic," Phuc said.
HCMC-based FIT Tour, which specializes in organizing outbound tours, has resumed selling pilgrimage tour packages to Nepal (April departure) and to Ladakh (India), Pakistan and Egypt this autumn.
Do Van Thuc, deputy director of Dat Viet Tour, said due to the limited frequency of regular flights, current tour prices are higher than pre-pandemic times, prompting many tourists to hold back on their travel plans.
Nguyen Nhat Vu, director of Fit Tour, said the company would be in a fix if it had to arrange a tour guide to stay and support infected tourists.
Potential expenses for testing and treatment are also making Vietnamese hesitant about traveling abroad, Vu said.
Vietnam will officially reopen full inbound and outbound tourism on March 15.
The country has resumed commercial flights to 20 of 28 countries and territories that it had direct flights to before the pandemic.
Under current regulations, fully vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid-19 only need to self-isolate for three days after arriving in Vietnam.
Everyone, except children below two, must have tested negative for the novel coronavirus using the PCR method no more than 72 hours before departure.