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Would Vietnam tourism industry recover soon?
Nhat Minh 11:19, 2020/04/22
The tourism industry worldwide has gone into hibernation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving many people out of work and struggling to earn a living.

Current forecasts showed that compared to previous crises, worldwide tourism, including Vietnam’s travel industry, will take more time to recover, according to VnExpress.

 Photos: VGP

Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) Tran Trong Kien said that the performance of the industry is now at zero. Tourism businesses have calculated how to reduce costs and survive. “The best scenario is the V-shaped growth for the industry, which drops to the bottom and rebound to the pre-pandemic performance, or U-shaped one, which depends on the disease control ability and recovery of the Vietnam’s economy and the world’s,” Kien was quoted as saying.

In that scenario, the domestic market will bounce back first, followed by overseas markets including China, other Asian countries, EU and the US. The travel activities are expected to take 12-18 months to be completely restored.

Le Tuan Anh, director of the Tourism Information Center under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), predicted that only by 2022 or even years later that Vietnam could reach the same number of international visitors in 2019. The tourism industry needs to update on the situation to work out scenarios and set up recovery plans after the pandemic ends.

With restrictions on travel and immigration in place in many countries, the number of international visitors to Vietnam from April to June is almost zero, Tuan Anh added. After the end of the pandemic, Asian markets will likely recover sooner than the markets of the EU, North America and Australia. Under such a scenario, the number of international visitors to Vietnam could only reach 5.5 million, down 70% compared to the same period in 2019.

In the second scenario, according to Tuan Anh from the VNAT, the number of international visitors to Vietnam in 2020 would decrease by 75% to 4.6 million.

If the situation worsens and the pandemic could not be contained by the end of 2020, the total number of international arrivals in Vietnam will reach a maximum of about 3.7 million, the figure in the first three months of this year before the border closure, an 80% less than in 2019.

Tuan Anh predicted the recovery pattern would be L-shaped, meaning it will take a long time for the travel industry in Vietnam to bounce back. Even when the pandemic is contained somehow now or later, travelers to will not have enough time to make plans for year-end. In any scenario, the year of 2020 will see the catastrophic decline in terms of foreign arrivals.

Many big tour operators in Vietnam believed that the country will soon control the pandemic with the government’s determination to fight against it. “As soon as the pandemic is controlled, the domestic market will explode rather than grow gradually because most people wish to travel after a long stay-at-home period”, according to a representative from Ho Chi Minh City-based tour operator.

On the contrary, Nguyen Duc Tri, a local insider, explained that the academic year lasts until August instead of ending in May or June, that will not be the best time to book a summer trip. In addition, people’s incomes will be narrowed and fear of crisis could reduce travel demand.

According to Kien from the TAB, the long-lasting pandemic combat could lead to changes in customer habits. For instance, the old people may not want to travel as much as previously or major theme parks would cease to be attractive destinations.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has submitted to the government measures to relieve the ordeal of the tourism industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the proposed measures, homestay owners, small and medium-sized businesses and laid-off tourism workers would be entitled to benefit from the VND62 trillion (US$2.66 billion) financial package; as well fee exemption for international/domestic travel service licensing or tour guide’s license expedition in 2020.

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