Vietnam plans to open for Russian tourists, despite the sanctions, and is preparing for a mass reception. However, for now, according to Russian tourism experts, the opening has been put on hold. Not the least of the reasons is the temporary closure of foreign flights by the most massive suppliers of tourists – large tour operators with Turkish roots.
“Vietnam is preparing for a large-scale reception of Russian tourists after the upcoming opening of the country’s borders on March 15, which remained closed to foreigners for two years due to the pandemic,” Hoang Thi Phong Thu, chairman of the board of directors of one of the largest tour operators in Vietnam, Pegas Misr Travel, told TASS. She recalled that for several years in a row before the start of the pandemic, the Russian tourist flow to Vietnam annually exceeded 600,000 people. Moreover, more than 170 thousand were accepted by Pegas Misr Travel – that is, obviously, the local “division” of Pegasus.
“The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, together with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Transport, have developed a plan for the full opening of borders for foreigners from March 15, according to which the visa-free entry policy for citizens of many countries, including Russia, that was in effect before the pandemic, will be restored. . Russians will again be able to visit Vietnam, using a visa-free regime for up to 15 days. The Vietnamese government attaches great importance to the return of Russian tourists to Vietnam, encouraging and supporting international travel agencies in organizing charter flights and flights of Vietnamese airlines to the Russian Federation to attract Russian travelers,” the official said.
However, as the experts of the Russian tourist market, and in particular, ATOR, added, “smooth on paper” so far. In reality, as of March 14, the plan to restart foreign tourism has not yet been approved by the Vietnamese government. There are still discussions on sanitary entry rules and visa policy. And, despite the fact that in Europe, coronavirus restrictions have already largely left the current agenda, in Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, they are still the subject of measures and concerns. Tourists are expected to require at least a certificate of vaccination or a certificate of covid-19, a PCR test no older than 72 hours, and insurance in the amount of at least $10,000. Also among the proposed measures is a rapid test for antigens in the hotel, and until the result is received, they will not be able to leave the room. This will be monitored by the mandatory PC-COVID health tracking app.
An even more important reason than the inconsistency of covid measures is the pause that the main suppliers of tourists took with charter programs. For example, the already launched program to Vietnam from Anex Tour has been suspended, only export flights are working. Tour operators are afraid of air sanctions – and the decision to continue flights to Vietnam will not be made before the clarification of the situation with international flights from Russia. An expensive regular flight from Vietnam Airlines, which has been flying only from Moscow to Hanoi since February once a week, can act as an alternative. If the Operational Headquarters removes restrictions on the number of flights to Vietnam, Vietnam Airlines may increase the frequency of flights to Moscow, ATOR experts note.
Recall that another theoretical application for readiness to accept both Russian regular flights and charters came from Africa . Kenya came out with this statement.
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