Foreign tourists set for early post-pandemic welcome in Vietnam
Update: May 29, 2020
WeSwap, the UK's largest travel money provider, has listed Vietnam among the first economies likely to restart international tourism following the COVID-19 pandemic.

An aerial view of Da Nang City with many boats docking at Son Tra Peninsula, central Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Tang Trung Kien
Countries and territories around the world are beginning to ease lockdown rules in order to make way for tourism to begin and Vietnam is no exception, it said on May 25. "Vietnam has had one of the lowest case and death rates in the world, despite being just next door to China." 
Vietnam, with a population of 94 million people, has gone 40 days without any coronavirus cases caused by community transmission. The national COVID-19 count is 327, of these only 55 are active cases as 272 have recovered after treatment.
The country, which borders China where the first novel coronavirus cases were reported last year, has recorded no deaths to date.
The government eased social distancing restrictions on April 23 and has allowed most non-essential services except karaoke parlors and discos to resume operation.
It is also eyeing tourism revival with select openings for foreign visitors. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) stated that they are preparing plans to welcome visitors from countries and territories in anticipation of recovery and disease control in key markets like Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia.
A Nikkei Asian Review report released last week said Japan was gradually preparing to ease its entry restrictions on foreign visitors with business travelers and researchers being the first to get the green light.
Taiwan, Vietnam and some European countries where the COVID-19 crisis has been controlled, will be considered for tourism resumption by the Japanese government, Nikkei said.
Matt Crate, managing director of WeSwap, said that there are countries that will need to reopen the tourism sector to restart their economies. "There are countries across the world that have dealt incredibly well with the infection rate of the disease and should be commended, including Vietnam."
He added: "The countries that have dealt best with the disease can lead the charge to help the world travel in safety."
Besides Vietnam, WeSwap also included Fiji, Sri Lanka and Seychelles in the list of economies that could reopen their travel industry before others.
With an international flight ban in place, Vietnam saw a 38% year-on-year drop in the January-April number of foreign visitors to 3.7 million, accompanied by corresponding 45% drop in tourism revenues to VND7.9 trillion (US$337 million).
Politico, a US-based political news organization, recently said that Vietnam has responded best to the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of health and economic impacts.