Vietnam to lift all restrictions

Vietnam to lift all restrictions

The country will fully reopen its borders for international tourism from March 15 the government has announced. Since November only visitors arriving on prearranged tour packages have been allowed to into Vietnam.

At a meeting on February 15, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, the defence, public security, tourism, health, foreign affairs and transport ministries agreed that as Vietnam would fully reopen its air, land and sea borders. All travel restrictions imposed since the country closed its borders two years ago would be removed.

The country will also resume its unilateral visa exemption policy for 13 countries and bilateral for 88 countries. The countries that are exempted from visas include Russia, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Belarus for a maximum of 15 days stay.

There are, of course, some conditions. All tourists aged 12 and above are required to show a certificate stating they have been fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid. They must also take a rapid antigen test and show a negative result within 24 hours of arrival at their accommodation facilities. International visitors will also need to have medical insurance cover for Covid treatment worth at least $10,000 for the duration of their stay.

Last November Vietnam introduced a vaccine passport programme allowing some international visitors with strict conditions. About 9,000 visitors took up the offer though over half of them were overseas Vietnamese returning to see family.

• Malaysia is rethinking its plan to reopen its borders from March 1. The minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri has said that the evaluation remains ongoing.

Speaking to local media she said, “It needs to be carefully studied before Malaysia’s tourism sector, and international borders can be allowed to fully reopen without the implementation of travel bubbles.”

However, the National Recovery Council and the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry remain optimistic that if the Langkawi Travel Bubble proves successful, a full reopening is imminent either on 1 March or shortly afterwards. So far Langkawi Travel Bubble had seen over 700,000 local and foreign arrivals and generated about MYR750 million by the end of 2021.

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