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Vietnam receives 1st batch of int'l tourists after 20 months

 
Hanoi, Nov 18 (IANS) For the first time in 20 months, Vietnam has received the first batch of quarantine-free international travellers amid efforts to revive the Covid-battered tourism sector.

Wednesday's arrivals were from Australia, France, South Korea, and the US, and will go on a package tour covering flights and accommodation in Quang Nam province as part of a quarantine waiver for visitors fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Xinhua news agency quoted the local newspaper VnExpress as saying in a report.

The province is scheduled to welcome some 300 other foreign tourists in the next few days under the Vietnamese government's vaccine passport program.

Staff members at resorts and tourist facilities chosen for the trial program have been fully vaccinated, according to provincial authorities.

The central province, home to popular tourist spot Hoi An ancient town, is one of the first five localities allowed to welcome fully vaccinated tourists from this month onwards along with the northern Quang Ninh province, the central Da Nang city and Khanh Hoa province, and the southern Kien Giang province.

Also under the program, Phu Quoc in Kien Giang will welcome some 200 foreign tourists on Saturday, the first international visitors to the island after nearly two years of a ban on tourism due to Covid-19, Vietnam News Agency reported.

Vietnam closed its border and grounded all international flights in March last year due to the pandemic, only allowing entry for repatriates, foreign experts and highly-skilled workers with certain quarantine requirements.

The Southeast Asian country hosted just more than 3.8 million international arrivals in 2020, plunging 78.7 per cent from a record number of over 18 million in 2019, according to its General Statistics Office.

--IANS
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