Vietnamese people are eager to travel in the coming months flashes up signs of hope for the recovery of the country’s tourism industry.
|First foreign visitors to Phu Quoc Island, Khanh Hoa Province under the pilot program. Photo: Vietjet Air|
Results on tourist demand and trends in the Covid-19 period in Vietnam from the latest report conducted by the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) showed that nearly 90% of respondents want to travel in the next 10 months, of the 27% are willing to travel right at the beginning of 2022.
According to the Head of the TAB Secretariat Hoang Nhan Chinh, these results are proof of the growing need for travel of tourists, and that people are eager to go sightseeing after a long time under restrictive measures against Covid-19.
Since January 1, the reopening of international air routes to some countries and territories has led to the expectation that the number of international visitors will increase in the second phase of the tourism pilot program.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), after two months of welcoming international tourists on a trial basis, Phu Quoc Island (Kien Giang), Khanh Hoa, and Quang Nam welcomed over 8,500 international tourists with vaccine passports from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Singapore, the UK, US, and Canada.
The initial results have proven that Vietnam is a safe and attractive tourist destination, as well as the ability of the Vietnamese tourism industry to adapt safely and flexibly, according to the VNAT.
Previously, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism submitted to the Government a roadmap to fully resume international tourism in which the second phase of the pilot plan would go on until April 30 and the full reopening to international travel (including inbound and outbound) will start from May 1 in the new normal.
Meanwhile, airlines, travel agencies, and hotels have urged the government to announce the time to fully resume tourism activities in February. At a recent conference on January 26, Trinh Hong Quang, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Airlines, suggested reopening tourism from February 1 as the domestic market has shown signs of improvement.
Some air carriers including Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Bamboo Airways as well as tour operators and hospitality businesses such as VietravelSaigontourist, Sun Group, Thien Minh Group expected the reopening date would be set soon for them to prepare promotional campaigns. The view has been shared by the Research and Development Board of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform.
It will be an opportunity to create a breakthrough for the tourism industry as well as draw investment and trade flows from other countries, local businesses said.
Standing Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association Vu The Binh suggested that to attract international tourists, it is necessary to exempt visas for travelers and require them to have negative nCoV test results 72 hours before departure.
“The Ministry of Health needs to soon issue clear regulations on isolation for tourists’ information,” he added.
In 2019, before the pandemic, Vietnam welcomed 18 million international arrivals, up 16.2% compared to 2018 and 85 million domestic visitors, an increase of 6%. Total tourism revenue was estimated at more than US$31.2 billion.
Hanoi’s tourism plan
|St. Joseph's Cathedral is one of the favorite destinations for tourists. HNT Photo: Duy Khanh|
Hanoi was not among seven localities under the pilot program welcoming international tourists to Vietnam, the Hanoi Department of Tourism has developed its tourism recovery plan for 2022.
Dang Huong Giang, Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism said the city’s travel businesses have built more new products to increase the experience for visitors as well as plan to organize and promote events such as festivals of Ao Dai, food, and gifts.
The city targets to welcome 10-12 million visitors next year, including 1.2-2 million international tourists, with tourism safety given the top priority.
In 2021, the capital’s tourism continued to face difficulties due to the impact of the pandemic when the number of visitors to Hanoi was estimated at four million, equal to 53% compared to 2020.
Most of the international arrivals are diplomats, business executives, and highly skilled laborers, who traveled in together with their families, under the government’s authorization after the border closure took effect in March 2020.
Total revenue from tourists was estimated at VND11.28 trillion ($495.6 million), equal to 42% of the earnings in 2020. Hanoi has 3,722 active accommodation establishments with 69,954 rooms, of which 20 hotels were repurposed to host medical isolation facilities for the prevention and control of the Covid-19.
The number of accommodation establishments temporarily suspending operations and changing industries is about 1,550. The average occupancy rate of hotels of all categories was estimated at 23%, down 7% compared to 2020.