Viet Nam is to implement a phased resumption of international commercial flights with ten countries greenlighted in the current quarter and another five countries from January next year, according to proposals by its civil aviation regulator pending government approval.

In the first phase starting this quarter, five provinces will open to fully vaccinated tourists on package tours on flights from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia, and Australia. They will be allowed to enter the following airports: Phu Quoc, Nha Trang Cam Ranh (Khanh Hoa), Quang Ninh, Da Nang, and Tamky (Quang Nam), the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam (CAAV) said.

In the second phase, from January 2022, four regular passenger flights a week will resume from the following countries: China, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia, and the United Kingdom. The following additional airports will be open: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, Can Tho, and Rach Gia.

Arrivals will still be required to quarantine for seven days at a designated hotel in Viet Nam and will have to present paid-up costs of accommodation and ground transfers. Passengers from other countries will still have to have written consent to enter Viet Nam.

In a third phase, to be implemented from April 2022 depending on the vaccination progress in Viet Nam and the assessment of herd immunity, airlines would resume daily flights into the country and passengers would no longer have to quarantine, if in possession of a vaccine passport.

In the final phase, from July 2022, unlimited international flights would resume depending on the level of vaccinations/herd immunity, the CAAV said.

Reuters reported the CAAV had imposed tight border controls at the start of the pandemic to keep out COVID-19, with some initial success, but that had dealt a blow to its burgeoning tourism sector, which accounts for about 10% of gross domestic product (GDP). Foreign arrivals to Viet Nam fell to 3.8 million last year, down from 18 million in 2019 when tourism revenue was USD31 billion, equivalent to 12% of GDP. Only 38% of Viet Nam's population of 98 million people has been vaccinated so far.