According to many reports, Vietnam’s tourism sector lost $7 billion in revenue in January and February. Currently, since most countries around the world are still carrying out border closures, Vietnam is concentrating on domestic travels as a measure to revive the country’s tourism industry. By mid-May, Vietnam officially transformed into a “new normal” stage, recording more than 300 confirmed cases, which is a lower figure comparing to more than 7,000 confirmed cases in Malaysia, 3,000 in Thailand and over 25,000 in Singapore.
Thanks to quick, efficient management measures and strict policies, it seems like Vietnam has controlled the COVID-19 better than many neighbouring countries.
Although Vietnam is not as devastated and severely affected as other countries in Europe and the US, for those who work in the Vietnamese tourism and service industry, this is really “a fatal blow.”
In 2019, the tourism industry accounted for nearly 17% of Vietnam’s GDP. However, the country recorded a loss of $ 7 billion in revenue in January and February. The number of visitors in April 2020 decreased by 98% compared to the same period in 2019.
Although there is a cancellation of social distancing restrictions, many hotels have decided to remain closed until mid-May or later due to the lack of needed customers. Meanwhile, some travel companies like Heritage Cruise will continue to close until the end of this year.
Currently, recovery efforts are focused on domestic tourism. Vu The Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents, Vice President of the Vietnam Tourism Association, told Reuters, “The recovery of domestic tourism will partly boost international tourism.” To attract local tourists, hotels and airlines had to cut prices by almost half. “After this program ends in mid-July, we will start the promotion of international tourism, which most importantly depends on the situation of the disease.”
On April 23rd, the Ministry of Transport began increasing domestic flights and trains to essential compelling attractions with limited passengers. For appealing regional travelers, accommodation and air-way travel enterprises had to carry out the promotions up to half the prices.
At the same time, there was the launching of a campaign to promote tourism called “Vietnamese travelling Vietnam” to introduce quality products and travel packages at reasonable prices. The goal of this move is to stimulate the development of the domestic tourism market. This activity helps Vietnam’s tourism industry rise above regional rivals such as Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where they have only loosened the travel closure orders recently.
Ronan Bihan, general manager of Mango Bay Phu Quoc Resort, said the resort needed to adapt to local tastes. “Tourism businesses targeting foreign customers will be in trouble for a long time. We are currently focusing on the Vietnamese customer market. However, this is a big problem. And not all Vietnamese are interested in the services we provide,” he said.
Domestic tourism is currently growing, with most Vietnamese airlines reporting that their limited domestic flights are quickly reaching the number of needed passengers.
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt