Open to Southeast Asia Omicron… Self-quarantine after returning home

Southeast Asian countries continue to open their borders to Omicron. The photo is a street in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam / Travel Newspaper CB

Southeast Asian countries have a strong will to resume travel. While the aftermath of Omicron continues, Vietnam and Thailand are opening their borders, albeit limitedly. The travel industry has finished preparing to welcome guests, but it has become difficult to even attract guests due to the 10-day quarantine for overseas arrivals.

Vietnam expands the pilot open areas of the ‘Vaccine Passport Program’ and accelerates the recovery of the travel market. Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced on the 3rd that it would allow additional foreign tourism to Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Dinh. Those who have been vaccinated can travel to a total of 7 destinations, including Khan Hua, Da Nang, Kien Giang, Quang Nam and Quang Ninh, which were opened in November last year. According to local media in Vietnam, the number of foreign tourists who visited Vietnam in the month since the opening in November last year recorded 3,500.

However, Koreans’ travel to Vietnam is still covered in dark clouds. An official from a local travel agency in Vietnam said, “As the self-quarantine has been extended, the chartered flight scheduled to depart at the end of January has been postponed to the end of February.” delivered on the 10th. The barrier of self-quarantine is adding to the difficulties in the industry despite successive green lights such as the resumption of international flights to Vietnam and the expansion of travelable areas.

Thailand has only opened its borders to some regions and golf travelers. In the aftermath of Omicron, entry was suspended on December 22, last year, and it seems to have returned to last year when various experiments were conducted to resume travel. According to a notice from the Thailand Tourism Board on January 5, golf quarantine is possible at a total of five golf courses in Nakhon Nayok, Kanchanaburi (two), Phetchaburi and Chiang Mai. From the 11th, the sandbox area was also expanded. Following Phuket, travel to Krabi, Phang Nga, and Surat Thani has been additionally allowed, and vaccination certificate, PCR test negative confirmation, accommodation in Thailand and PCR test reservation, and corona insurance insurance are required.

As the 10-day self-quarantine for overseas arrivals has been extended until February 3, it is inevitable to miss the winter season, the peak season in Southeast Asia. Even if the self-quarantine exemption is implemented again for those who have completed vaccination after 3 days, there are many forecasts that it will take some time for travel demand to recover. A travel agency official complained, “As the sudden self-quarantine has been extended for a long time, the feeling of despair is also increasing.”

Meanwhile, Vietnam resumed international flights to nine countries, including Korea, as of January 1. Those who have been vaccinated can enter the country, but there is no window to guide individual entry procedures, causing confusion among travelers. One traveler pointed out in an interview with VN Express, “We need to build dedicated sites like Singapore and Thailand to guide travelers through the immigration process.”

Reporter Eunji Lee [email protected]

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