Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Travel Association Phung Quang Thang shared with The Hanoi Times about the prospects of the tourism industry in the coming time.
|Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Travel Association Phung Quang Thang. HNT Photo|
The 4th outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected all aspects of life, economy, and society, including tourism. How serious its consequences have been?
Most tourism businesses had used up their last resources to prepare for in the peak travel season last summer. However, their plans were canceled due to the 4th wave of the pandemic with the most dangerous and highly transmissible virus strain so far in Vietnam and many Southeast Asian countries.
The Vietnamese Prime Minister has allowed the largest island of Phu Quoc to pilot the welcoming of international tourists, is the country prepared to revive the tourism industry?
Currently, Vietnam is accelerating the mass vaccination campaign, so the pandemic has been initiated under control, creating conditions for the tourism industry to start recovering. Besides, the tourism industry in the world and Southeast Asia, have also shown signs of resurrection as vaccination coverage is expanding.
At the beginning of August, Thailand has allowed international tourists to Phuket and will continue to open the southern Thailand Krabi and Phang Nga Bay, two other destinations, provided that guests have been vaccinated. This is a model that Vietnam should learn when implementing the tourism revival plan after Covid-19.
However, the recovery process depends on the development of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the preparation of human resources.
In nearly two years of the pandemic, a large number of high-quality workers in the industry have switched to other jobs to earn money, while the financial capacity of travel businesses has been depleted.
In order to promote the tourism industry, it also requires close coordination between travel businesses, hotels, transportation providers, and local authorities in safely organizing tours in accordance with actual conditions.
What scenario should the tourism industry focus on to take off after Covid-19?
The country needs firstly to build a scenario of adapting safely to Covid-19, thereby setting out really effective plans to revive the smokeless industry.
Facing the post-pandemic difficulties, travel companies need to take careful steps, even organizing non-profit tours, but still ensure quality services to attract customers.
The preparation for the recovery period requires travel companies to keep service quality and use flexible pricing policies depending on the situation. Enterprises should be creative and work out tourism products suitable to market demand.
For the inbound segment, the focus should be placed on source markets such as Russia, Northern Europe, and Western Europe, where tourists have high resort demand, stay longer, and spend a lot. The end of the year is a good season to welcome inbound travelers who come to avoid winter.
Given that Hanoi is one of the top ten most attractive destinations in the world according to TripAdvisor rankings, what potential strengths should the city's tourism industry exploit?
In fact, many countries such as South Korea, China, and Thailand have thoroughly exploited their culture for tourism development, Hanoi should take into account experiences from these countries in devising plans for the post-Covid-19 period.
Cultural exploitation requires close and harmonious coordination between cultural and art units, craft villages, and tourism enterprises.
What do tourism businesses expect from mechanisms and policies?
In the past time, the State has issued a number of mechanisms and policies to support tourism businesses such as tax and deposit rate reduction, subsidies for tour guides. However, what travel businesses need the most now is to speed up the vaccination campaign.
Data from the General Statistics Office showed that in the past eight months, the international arrivals to Vietnam only reached 105,000, falling 97.2% over the same period last year. Meanwhile, the number of domestic visitors only reached 31.2 million, an inter-annual decrease of 5.5%. Total revenue from tourists is estimated at VND136.5 trillion (US$6 billion), a year-on-year fall of 36.5%.
In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of international visitors to Vietnam declined by 80% compared to the previous year’s figure while the number of domestic tourists fell by 34%. The gross revenue of tourism decreased by 59% in the period, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has suggested that the Government have a separate policy on Covid-19 vaccination for some key tourist centers, creating a safe environment so that the domestic segment can be resumed, then attract international arrivals to Vietnam.