International tourism is a significant driver of the Vietnamese economy, accounting for 9.2 percent of the country’s GDP in 2019 with a record 18 million foreign visitors, a 16.2 percent increase compared to the previous year.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister recently, the National Tourism Advisory Council (TAB) recommended that in order for Vietnam to avoid falling behind other competing countries in tourism attraction, it needs technical and policy solutions to draw back tourists in a timely manner. They argued that several of Vietnam’s international tourism competitors, such as Thailand, are already planning to reopen their borders in a safe way to support travel by business people, experts, and foreign tourists.
|The tourism industry is awaiting a quick recovery|
However, Hoang Nhan Chinh, Head of the TAB Secretariat, emphasized that welcoming back international visitors must be based on Vietnam’s ability to detect Covid-19 infection and handle such cases.
At a meeting last month with localities, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc assigned relevant authorities to consider appropriate control measures for when Vietnam accepts vaccine passports and reopens international routes.
The digital vaccine passport proving an individual has been vaccinated against the coronavirus could be stored on a phone or a digital wallet, and the data displayed in the form of a QR code.
Mobile networks have told authorities that the necessary technical infrastructure to keep track of vaccination certificates for foreigners would be ready starting in April. Currently, Vietnam applies a 14-day quarantine rule for guests and immigrants, including those who have been vaccinated.
Vaccine certification pilot programs
A number of countries and organizations have piloted digitized certification tools. For example, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has developed a digital tool called the Digital Travel Pass, used to help passengers manage their travel schedules and prove to airlines and authorities that they have been vaccinated or tested for Covid-19. The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Common Project (Switzerland) are in the testing phase of the Common Pass, which allows users to access information about the tests and vaccines.
IBM Corporation has also introduced a Digital Health Pass that integrates multiple data such as temperature check, virus exposure warning, test results and vaccine injection status. IBM said the pass would help people return to public places such as work, schools, stadiums or flights.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) also discussed the integration of vaccination certification into plans for safe tourism launches and enhancing confidence in the tourism industry. According to the UNWTO, the certification will be a particularly important tool in promoting a safe re-start of international tourism activities.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has assigned the Ministry of Health to coordinate with relevant ministries
and sectors on appropriate anti-Covid-19 measures when applying the vaccine passport. He also asked them
to consider a gradual reopening of international flights.