The tourism island of Vietnam reopens with corals and cable cars

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As pandemic restrictions loosen, tour guide Lai Chi Phuc has been counting down the days until tourists return to the white-sand beaches and deep tropical jungle of Vietnam’s Phu Quoc, a once-poor fishing island vying to become Asia’s next holiday hotspot.
After a vaccine passport scheme kicked out this month in Vietnam, around 200 South Koreans will land on the island, a few kilometers from Cambodia in the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Thailand, on Saturday (November 20). As they move between a 12,000-room hotel complex, an amusement park, an 18-hole golf course, a casino, a safari park, and a miniature Venice, their stay promises to be a flurry of action and fun.
For Phuc, 33, who recalls a poverty-stricken childhood in which “everyone wanted to escape Phu Quoc,” the island’s growing popularity provided a means to come home after years of scraping by as a salesman in Mekong Delta cities.
But it’s also a pity,” he said, lamenting the island’s palm-fringed beaches being converted into resorts. Staff at the Vinpearl resort, where Saturday’s visitors would stay, scrubbed beaches, put silverware on tables and laid out sunbeds in preparation for the reopening on Saturday. Others worked on conical hats, painting delicate flowers.
“I was ecstatic when we learned the visitors were returning,” said duty manager Ngo Thi Bich Thuong.

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