Vietnam’s tourism industry will rebound with a vengeance, but at first will be cautious towards opening up to international tourists, says one of Vietnam’s leading researchers in tourism and hospitality.
Speaking on The Bureau Podcast this week, Dr Nuno Ribeiro, a senior lecturer at RMIT Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City and authority on how culture impacts travel behaviour, outlines the possible steps Vietnam may take in reopening its tourism industry that in 2019 recorded approximately US$33 billion in tourism revenue, but has been decimated since by Covid-19.
It’s likely that we will experiment with certain areas…it will be very tentative and very piecemealDr Nuno Ribeiro, senior lecturer, RMIT Vietnam
“We’ve been following very closely what our neighbours have been doing – Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong…one possibility that’s been in the works for a while is to have so-called Green Zones in which you can travel there if the entire population of the area is vaccinated, if you, the tourist, are vaccinated, if you show that there is proof that you have a negative test within a certain day,” says Dr Ribeiro.
Listen to the full podcast episode below.
But according to Dr Ribeiro, international travel to Vietnam will only happen after domestic travel has successfully re-opened.
“That will happen piecemeal. You might see something happen at the city level where you can travel within city limits, then it might open at province level, but it will be very cautious and very tentative,” he says.
However, in order to enjoy that much-anticipated trip either domestically or internationally, Dr Ribeiro predicts there will be strict protocols to which travellers will have to adhere.
“I very much doubt that you will be allowed to travel – as in for tourism purposes – without some sort of proof or evidence that you have (A) been vaccinated, (B) that you’ve had a negative Covid test, and (C) a combination of the two,” he says.
As a result, there will be an added emphasis on hygiene and security and that it’s likely authorities will experiment with certain areas which Dr Ribeiro says will have an impact on tourism in city centres where population density poses a higher risk of potential outbreaks.
“We’ve been talking a lot about Phu Quoc, that might be a possibility, islands are a little bit easier to control…and with a certain degree of caution that we have not seen in previous tourism crises.”
During the interview, Dr Ribeiro also discusses the types of experiences travellers will be looking for when they come to Vietnam, the strategies travel agencies will be using to entice them here, and where he thinks Vietnam’s next destination hot-spot will be.
Listen to the full interview below.
Words by Matthew Cowan. Follow Matt on Instagram at @mattcowansaigon
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