Huynh Duy Hien, a 45-year-old tour guide specializing in serving foreign tourists, switched to real estate after the Covid pandemic hit and inbound tourism was suspended for almost two years.
About two weeks ago, a British tourist wrote to him on WhatsApp, reminding him to check his email because he wanted to book a tour to Vietnam after the country reopened to international tourism on March 15.
“I was shocked and in tears when the British family of four confirmed they would book a tour to visit Vietnam from March 22,” Hien said.
“This was the first group of foreign tourists I received in almost two years, and I was excited and happy even though it was a small group,” he added.
Upon arrival in Vietnam, the British family began their two-day, one-night trip to visit Cai Be district in Mekong Delta’s Tien Giang province, staying at Can Tho and visiting Cai Rang floating market before heading to Vinh Trang pulled pagoda.
A British family poses for a photograph during their trip to the Mekong Delta in March 2022. Photo courtesy of Huynh Duy Hien
They said they had visited Thailand before, but when they heard Vietnam had reopened its border to foreign tourists, they decided to visit the country before flying to Singapore to work there.
Getting started was easy. The procedures including making the medical declarations and verifying the PCR test results took only about 15 minutes.
Visitors found Cai Rang floating market fascinating and found that Vietnam has many pristine landscapes and delicious food. They said they would recommend friends to visit the country.
“After staying with them for two days, their kindness made me feel like family,” Hien said.
Pham Ha, CEO of luxury cruise line tour operator Lux Group, said all his staff “cried with joy” as they welcomed a group of 10 foreign tourists from Singapore and Europe.
The tourists booked a package tour that included limousine transport from Hanoi, seaplane service and a two-night cruise to Ha Long and Lan Ha Bays.
The foreigners said the trip was exciting and Vietnam is their first post-pandemic overseas destination.
Visitors from Singapore were impressed by the natural beauty, cuisine and hospitality of the Vietnamese.
Foreign tourists on a small island in Halong Bay, Quang Ninh Province, March 2022. Photo courtesy of Lux Group
Ha said: “We are seeing very good signals from the markets of Southeast Asia, Australia and Western Europe. Many tourist groups have booked tours to visit Vietnam from September this year to April next year, showing their trust and love for the country. “
Asian Exotic, an HCMC-based travel agency, welcomed a couple from Mexico on Wednesday, the company’s first overseas clients in almost two years.
Bui Dang Giang, the company’s general manager for the Indochina region, said she couldn’t forget the happiness she felt on receiving the booking from the Mexican couple.
The couple had booked the tour multiple times in 2020 and 2021 but had to cancel each time. This time they stay in Vietnam for nine days visiting Da Nang, Hoi An, Hanoi, Ha Long and HCMC.
Vietnam shut down inbound tourism and stopped issuing visas to foreign tourists in March 2020, leaving thousands of tourism workers to find other ways to survive.
From March 15th, foreigners entering Vietnam only need to present a negative Covid test result and do not have to go into quarantine.