Tips for foreign business to prepare for Tet

Being the most important and also the longest official holiday in Vietnam, Tet (or Lunar New Year) might catch foreign business off guard.
Tips for foreign business to prepare for Tet

Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet or Tet Nguyen Dan in Vietnamese) is the most important traditional holiday in Vietnam. It is also the longest holiday leave streak with normally 7 (but can be as long as 10) consecutive work-free days. With the time ranging between end of January and early February, this holiday is not aligned with Western New year. Furthermore, with deep cutural differences between Vietnamese and Westerners, foreign businesses should prepare themselves with what to do and expect from this holiday. In 2022 - the year of the TIger, the holiday begins from January 29 (Saturday) and lasts until February 6 (Sunday).

Shops with Tet decorations in Ho Chi Minh City

Mass migration

Usually, millions of migrant workers in major cities will return to their hometowns to celebrate Lunar New Year with their families. This results in much-crowded airports, bus, and train stations prior to the holiday and during which, quieter and emptier streets in the cities. Domestic travel volume is likely to burst, especially the South-North route before-and North-South after the holiday. This is because many people from the North are moving to Southern cities for work.

However, this year may be a bit different. Within the past months, due to the pandemic, many workers were forced to return to their hometowns following business closures and a reduction in the labor workforce. It is likely that these employees will not return to the cities until after Tet. In addition, the discovery of the community transmission of the Omicron variant may deter people from traveling.

Therefore, before traveling or planning cross-region events, it is advisable to confirm COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements with the local authority, hotels, and airlines in your destination city.

Business closures

Even though in 2022, Tet falls on February 1, businesses and factories in Vietnam will be closed for nine days, from January 29 to February 6. This includes five days promulgated by the Labor Code for the Tet holiday and the other four on the weekend for the 2022 Lunar New Year.

Banks and schools will also be closed during this time. To avoid delayed production and backlogs that can culminate up to one to two weeks before the holiday, factories should process orders according to their priorities and partner relationships.

It is advised that both manufacturers and buyers pay utmost attention to the ordering process. If the buyers place their orders early, problems with rushed production before and after the new year can be minimized.

Within the first week after the holiday, most businesses will slowly start reopening and planning their production, however, others might take longer to get ready for full operations.\

Potential delays after Vietnamese Lunar New Year

During the Lunar New Year period, the Vietnamese ports and port warehouses will be closed while the terminals continue to work full-time and are open for incoming vessels. The days before the festival, the ports work overtime and try to load all export cargo to unload all import shipments in time before the business closure.

After the holiday, the ports will be back to full capacity when they resume work. However, they might have to deal with heavy congestion at the terminals. Businesses should expect delays created by the week-long closure. It usually takes longer in the North than in the South for the timelines to get back to normal. This may further add to supply chain delays.

Foreign businesses with supply chains in Vietnam are advised to stay in touch with their suppliers who may face labor shortages and ensure that products are able to be shipped on time. While the festival comes to a close, it often takes some time for things to fully return to normal again.

Public advisories

Both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City governments have announced that they will limit mass gatherings and have canceled the fireworks show which usually takes place during the Tet holiday.

Some provinces and localities have also encouraged employees to stay in place and not to go to their hometowns to help prevent the spread of the pandemic. However, the government has stopped checking testing and vaccination papers at airports for domestic travel unless travelers come from a very high-risk area or come from neighborhoods placed under medical isolation.


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