Cities wary of Covid vary travel rules, hamper tourism revival


Last month, Duc An, a resident of Hai Phong, planned to take his family to the popular resort town of Sa Pa in Lao Cai province for a break after being confined to his home for a long time. due to the pandemic.

Based on instructions from the Lao Cai health service, those coming from Hai Phong, considered a low-risk “green zone” for Covid-19, would be exempt from quarantine. His family would only have to provide a negative Covid-19 certificate.

However, when An called the Lao Cai health service hotline, he was informed that if his family passed through Hanoi to reach Lao Cai, they would have to undergo a seven-day quarantine. An decided to cancel his trip.

In mid-October, Lao Cai classified Hanoi in the green zone, but An remains hesitant and bides his time.

He said that due to inconsistent travel regulations between localities, he is not sure whether he will be isolated when he arrives in Sa Pa and when he returns to Hai Phong or not.

In accordance with government criteria on vaccine coverage and community infection rates, health authorities in Hanoi and Lao Cai have announced that they can now be classified as “green areas” at low risk of Covid, but Hai Phong does not has not yet confirmed its level of pandemic risk.

A government guideline on assessing the level of pandemic in each locality includes two main criteria: the proportion of people aged 18 and over who have been vaccinated and the number of new cases per 100,000 people in a week. Based on this, the areas are categorized into red, orange, yellow, and green areas – very high risk, high risk, medium risk, and low risk, respectively.

After several months of confinement at her home under strict containment measures, Anh Thu, a resident of HCMC, was happy to learn that Da Lat, a popular resort town in the central highlands province of Lam Dong, has reopened the interprovincial tourism from Saturday.

Da Lat is shrouded in thick fog. Photo by VnExpress / Tran Ngoc Anh

Tourists arriving from low- and medium-risk green and yellow areas are exempt from quarantine, while those from high-risk areas like HCMC are expected to monitor their health at home or at their accommodation for seven days.

Thu therefore postponed his travel plans. She is an office worker and cannot waste more than a week.

Inconsistencies in travel rules and quarantine regulations in localities are also troublesome for travel agencies who cannot plan tours with confidence.

Le Hong Thai, deputy director of travel company Hanoitourist, said localities were rushing to rank the pandemic level based on government criteria, but there were many issues, including the lack of announcement. specific to the level of pandemic in each district and municipality.

“It creates confusion for travel agencies,” Thai said.

After Hanoi eased its Covid-19 restrictions, the company offered to organize tours with pandemic restrictions, taking residents to northern locations like Ha Giang, Yen Bai, Thanh Hoa and Quang Ninh.

However, the biggest problem the company faces is that each locality has imposed different travel and quarantine rules. They fear to welcome again tourists from Hanoi where community infections are still recorded.

Thai said his company had proposed that tourism authorities establish a common set of rules that should be applied across the country to help the tourism industry restart.

Consistency essential

Nguyen Le Huong, deputy general manager of the main tour operator Vietravel, stressed in a seminar on Friday that the unity and consistency of travel policies and regulations across the country is a prerequisite for the resumption of tourism. .

Huong said that although security remains the top priority, the testing and quarantine rules are different in different locations, and if these differences are not removed, the resumption of tourism cannot happen.

Huong proposed that the National Tourism Administration of Vietnam work with the localities to reach an agreement on the tourist reception policy.

She also said localities should base their quarantine rules on the basis of vaccine coverage as the country has moved from a zero Covid strategy to living a safe life with the pandemic.

Vu The Binh, vice president of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said localities should prioritize vaccination of residents of economic centers and tourist destinations to facilitate a rapid recovery in tourism.

Passengers will only travel again if safety is assured and procedures become as convenient as possible, Binh said.

With the pandemic situation under control, some tourism hot spots in Vietnam have relaxed social distancing restrictions and resumed tourism activities since early October.

While some localities like Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Nam have gradually relaxed their quarantine and testing rules to revive the tourism industry, others still require tourists to self-quarantine at home. monitor their health upon arrival apart from negative test results for the novel coronavirus.

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