At the meeting, delegations shared about recovery tourism plans.
On September 17, within the framework of a closed meeting of MTCO Board, a special agenda on Myanmar was organized. Chairman of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Trung Khanh led the Vietnamese delegation attending the event under the authorization of the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Highly appreciating Myanmar's active involvement in GMS tourism cooperation, COVID-19 pandemic prevention and preparation for tourism recovery, the VNAT’s Chairman showed a strong belief that Myanmar's tourism industry will soon overcome this difficult time.
Speaking about COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam, Chairman Nguyen Trung Khanh informed that given the complicated development situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and the world, the remaining period of 2021 is forecasted to be challenging for the sub-region's tourism industry. For Vietnam, the Government is consistent to adhere to the dual goal of preventing outbreak of the pandemic and developing socio-economics. The Prime Minister drastically directed to accelerate vaccination campaign in order to create community immunity at the earliest. At the same time, the health care sector is also trying to roll out vaccines for people under 18 years old.
In the field of tourism, the Vietnamese Government has made many important decisions in the past 2 years. Financial and monetary policies and social welfare measures have been released aiming to support the tourism businesses, tourism workers losing their jobs and the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of the society. Most recently, the Government decided to reduce travel enterprises business deposits by 80% by the end of 2023.
Regarding the tourism recovery and the reopening of international tourism, the Prime Minister agreed to reopen Phu Quoc Island to foreign visitors from October 2021 if the visitors have been fully vaccinated or been successfully treated and tested negative. Vietnam has so far recognized vaccination certificate forms of 44 countries and territories. VNAT is responsible for guiding Kien Giang province to prepare a pilot plan to welcome tourists. The reopening is attracting a lot of attention from the international audience when many media agencies have massively covered it recently.
Chairman Nguyen Trung Khanh commended ADB for supporting sub-region countries in formulating the GMS Tourism Recovery Communication Plan. This is a good initiative for the sub-region to have a common voice to promote safe and attractive GMS destinations, thus inspiring tourists to return to the sub-region’s destinations. He suggested that GMS Tourism Working Group should work closely with the MTCO to effectively implement this Plan.
On this occasion, the Chairman also congratulated MTCO on successfully recruiting a new Executive Director for the new term. Mr. Khanh deeply believed that MTCO plays a crucial role in helping GMS member countries to quickly adapt to the new context of tourism recovery.
At the meeting, delegations shared about recovery tourism plans. Myanmar said that, like many countries in the region and the world, Myanmar is also suffering great impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Myanmar is developing a tourism recovery plan for the 2021-2025 period with 18 strategies and 93 specific activities, providing it to regional and city-level destinations.
Thailand has implemented the "Phuket Sandbox" program from July 1, 2021 and will expand tourism activities from September 1. It is expected that in January 2022, Thailand will launch "tourist bubbles" with 4 neighbouring countries including Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Malaysia.