Portugal Colonial - Vietnam to re-open to tourists after two-year closure

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Vietnam to re-open to tourists after two-year closure
Vietnam to re-open to tourists after two-year closure

Vietnam to re-open to tourists after two-year closure

Vietnam will re-open to international tourists on March 15 after a two-year border closure due to the pandemic, the government said Wednesday.

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The Southeast Asian nation of 97 million people largely closed itself in March 2020 -- a move that clobbered its burgeoning tourism sector which was worth $32 billion a year before Covid.

Authorities said in a statement Wednesday they would begin issuing visas and accepting foreign arrivals from the middle of next month.

The announcement comes a day after the communist country lifted all restrictions on international flights.

The government has slowly eased pandemic curbs in recent months, with visitors trickling back in since November under a bubble arrangement to play golf at resorts.

Tourists must be fully vaccinated and produce a negative coronavirus test before departure and upon arrival.

Each traveller must also buy Covid-19 medical insurance coverage worth $10,000, the government statement said.

It is unclear whether people entering Vietnam will have to abide by the country's three-day quarantine rule in hotels or homes.

Hotel owner Nguyen Dinh Toi was forced to close his businesses in Sapa, Ha Long Bay and Hanoi and lay off 300 staff because of the pandemic and border restrictions.

"They all had to switch to other jobs as I could not pay them since September 2020," he told AFP.

"We have been waiting for this."

He called on authorities to provide clear guidelines on re-opening and hygiene procedures.

Vietnam is registering more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases daily and has recorded more than 2.5 million infections with nearly 40,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

More than 90 percent of adults have received two Covid-19 vaccine doses.

The government is currently considering inoculating young teenagers as it accelerates the rollout of booster shots.