The Vietnamese holiday island of Phu Quoc could open up to international visitors as early as September under a plan announced this week by the country’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
According to a report by VietNamNet, the national government wants to open up some selected locations for foreign tourism within this year, with Phu Quoc seen as the leading candidate due to its relatively small population of around 178,000 residents and workers.
Phu Quoc is home to Corona Resort and Casino, opened in January 2019 and currently the only casino in Vietnam at which locals are permitted to gamble.
Under the Ministry’s proposal, around 90% of those living on the island would need to be fully vaccinated in order to create herd immunity. Foreign visitation would then be allowed for anyone holding a vaccine certificate or vaccine passport and who had provided a negative COVID-19 test. Some soft travel restrictions between Phu Quoc and the mainland would likely be implemented to maintain separation.
“Phu Quoc may be the first place to open for international visitors with vaccine passports,” said Nguyen Tien Dat, Director of AZA Travel Company, according to the VietNamNet report.
“If successful and safe, this model could be expanded to other tourist destinations. The trial tour can be a golf tour or a resort tour. Vietnam will have the opportunity to welcome international visitors, recover tourism faster, or at least not lag behind countries in the region such as Thailand and Japan.”
Around 1,500 residents of Phu Quoc have been vaccinated so far, while around 1.5% of Vietnam’s 1.35 million people have received their first shot.
The plan comes amidst a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases in Vietnam since the start of May, with an average of 375 daily cases being reported over the past seven days.