A new COVID-19 outbreak on Phu Quoc Island will not affect plans to reopen the destination to international visitors from November, local authorities announced on Thursday.
A beach in Phu Quoc before the COVID-19 pandemic. — VNA/VNS Photo Truong Giang
The island, which is located off the southern coast of Viet Nam, was a major international tourist destination before the COVID-19 pandemic. Phu Quoc will once again begin receiving foreign tourists, providing they are fully vaccinated, from November this year.
The latest COVID-19 cluster on Phu Quoc was discovered just a few hours after social distancing measures were relaxed on September 20. At least 16 more cases have been reported since.
Vice chairman of Kien Giang People’s Committee, Nguyen Luu Trung, said the authorities have conducted isolation, tracing and quarantine work to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Vice chairman said the province, with approval from the Government, will continue with the plan to open the island, noting that the new outbreak is a challenge and a test for the island.
According to Director of Kien Giang’s Department of Tourism, Bui Quoc Thai, the province will first pilot the process of transporting tourists from the airport to hotels from November 1-10, before officially receiving visitors.
Initially, Phu Quoc will only welcome tourists who have booked package tours organised by travel agencies. These visitors will enter Viet Nam by air, through charter or commercial flights.
The province has selected 14 four and five-star hotels for the pilot programme, with a total capacity of 8,000 rooms. All staff have been fully inoculated against COVID-19.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's plan, the island was due to pilot receiving foreign tourists in October. This was then postponed until November due to the low vaccination rate.
In the first three months of the plan, the island is expecting to welcome 3,000-5,000 tourists a month, initially to limited destinations on the island.
Following this, the number of tourists will increase to a maximum of 10,000 a month, and more destinations will open.
As of September 21, Kien Giang Province has been given more than 371,000 doses of vaccine, accounting for 14.9 per cent of the population above 18 in the province. The Health Ministry has also given an additional 300,000 doses to Phu Quoc Island as it prepares for reopening.