According to some travel agencies, the temporary shutdown of historical relics and popular landscapes in Hanoi due to the coronavirus outbreak would further discourage international arrivals and hurt their revenues, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
Tay Ho Pagoda announces contemporary closure from February 5.
Historical relics shutdown means tourism embargo
All historical and tourist sites in Hanoi have been asked to be closed temporarily by the Municipal Department of Culture and Sport at the request of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism a day ago.
An official of Hoan Kiem district said that preventing the spreading of coronavirus is the top priority despite the adverse impacts on the tourism sector.
However, the decision deals a severe blow to travel agencies in Hanoi. Director of AZA Travel Nguyen Tien Dat said that the sudden closure is like ceasing tourism.
Travel companies, especially international tour operators have already been seriously hit by the impacts of the acute respiratory disease caused by the nCoV, Dat said.
“The epidemic is still under good control in Vietnam with some cases of infection and nobody has died. As a result, such radical measures as closing all historical sites that freezes the operation of travel companies should not be taken. International arrivals may frame that Vietnam is not a market-based economy and that Vietnam's tourism prestige would be adversely affected, "said Dat.
Hanoi tourism suffers huge loss due to the epidemic
According to recent statistics from the Hanoi Department of Tourism, the number of arrivals to the city was 2.4 million in January, slightly down 3.5% year-on-year. Of the amount, the number international tourists fell by nearly 9% while the domestic ones reduced just 2%.
During the first nine days of the Lunar New Year, which started from Lunar December 29 to Lunar January 7, the number of overnight-stay foreign tourists was down 13% year-on-year to nearly 87,000, of which Chinese arrivals plunged 47% to around 14,000.
In the first month of 2020, the average hotel occupancy was around 54.4%, plummeting by 15.5 percentage points.
Until February 2, the bookings of over 13,000 hotel rooms have been canceled. Tour activities have experienced a dull period with around 7,600 inbound tourists and 7,100 outbound tourist canceling bookings; transport operations have decreased by 30-50%; the number of visitors to popular destinations has dropped by 30-50%.
Hanoi is home to over 1,300 travel companies and 3,000 accommodation establishments.