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Published on Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Phu Quoc targeted as pilot destination to restart Vietnam tourism

Vietnam island Phu Quoc will become the test case for Vietnam's tourism revival.

The largest island in the country will open first to tourism to kickstart the economy.

Phu Quoc also happens to be one of Southeast Asia's fastest growing island holiday destinations.

Vietnam has reported just a handful of Covid-19 cases and no deaths but the pandemic has still decimated its tourism industry.

The offshore island has its own airport and the ministry believes restarting first on islands where any second wave of infections can be contained more effectively is the best policy.

It may expand tourism to other islands before opening up the rest of the country.

Special measures will be implemented such as social distancing and enhanced health and safety protocols.

"Tougher measures should be taken to prevent another outbreak of Covid-19," deputy tourism minister Trinh Thi Thuy said. 

"We are working with the health ministry to develop a set of criteria to ensure safety for international visitors. The tourism industry only wants to receive visitors from countries where the disease has been controlled," Thuy added.

The first wave of countries it may permit include Japan, South Korea China, Australia and New Zealand.

The island welcomed over five million visitors last year with about 10% of them foreign travellers.

Inbound tourist arrivals to Vietnam were down 98% in May compared to a year earlier.

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