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Mar 09, 2023 / 13:40

China to resume group tours to Vietnam from March 15

Tourism cooperation between Vietnam and China before the Covid-19 pandemic brought mutual benefits to the two peoples and strengthened the Vietnam-China friendship.

Vietnam has been added to China's second phase of a pilot program for outbound group tours, starting March 15.

 International tourists visit the Temple of Literature in Hanoi before Covid-19. Photo: The Hanoi Times

Peng Shituan, Cultural Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam, informed Nguyen Phuong Hoa, General Director of the Department of International Cooperation under the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, of the Chinese government's latest decision at a meeting in Hanoi on March 8.

He emphasized that Vietnam will be one of the priority countries for China to consider resuming direct flights. Passengers from Vietnam will be required to present a Covid-19 PCR or rapid antigen test within 48 hours prior to boarding.

According to the Chinese Cultural Counselor, the tourism cooperation between Vietnam and China before the Covid-19 pandemic was good, bringing mutual benefits to the two peoples and contributing to strengthening the Vietnam-China friendship. The Chinese side wishes to continue working with Vietnam to meet the travel needs of the people of both countries.

For her part, Nguyen Phuong Hoa, Director General of the Department of International Cooperation, thanked the Chinese side for coordinating with Vietnam to promote tourism cooperation.

She said: "It is good news for the tourism industry and Vietnamese people who want to travel after a long hiatus due to the pandemic.

She hoped that the two sides would continue to cooperate more closely and jointly promote the development of tourism between the two countries.

At the meeting, the Cultural Counselor also announced some cultural, sports, and tourism activities to be jointly organized by the two countries in 2023.

Peng expressed his pleasure at the recovery of Vietnam's inbound tourism industry. In February, Vietnam welcomed more than 932,000 international visitors, which is the number that many ASEAN countries want to achieve in the post-Covid-19 period.

He hoped that Vietnam will achieve strong growth in international arrivals in the coming period.

In a recent move, China announced the resumption of pilot outbound tours to more than 20 countries from February 6, including seven from Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Vietnam was not on the list.

On February 9, Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism asked China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism to reconsider the decision.

China was one of Vietnam's largest tourist source markets in the pre-pandemic period, and Chinese tourists mainly came to Vietnam in groups.

In 2019, Vietnam received 5.8 million Chinese tourists, accounting for one-third of the country's total foreign arrivals. In turn, about 4.5 million Vietnamese visited China in the same year.