Mar 04, 2020 / 15:18

Vietnam tourism industry prepares post-epidemic plans

The Hanoitimes - Vietnam’s tourism industry will diversify products and find new markets after the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreaks roll back.

Cooperating with partners closely, sharing risks and finding effective initiatives are what some travel enterprises are doing in the context of the coronavirus epidemic.

  A view of Cat Ba island

Chairman of Viking Travel Company Tran Xuan Hung told Hanoitimes that the company will work closely with local partners to make tour prices more competitive as well as allow their customers to cancel tours 48 hours before the departure time.

“A lot of new air routes have been launched, giving us great opportunities to promote inbound and outbound tourism,” Hung said, hoping that the tourism industry would soon recover when the coronavirus epidemic subsides and ends in next couple of months.

While some other enterprises are struggling and laying off workers, Viking Travel plans to recruit new employees and train them to meet the company’s requirements. If previously many jobs were outsourced because a lot of things needed to be done at the same time, now, they will be carried out by employees of the company, Hung added. “We will build our operating system and new programs, as well as improve product quality to prepare for the recovery of the industry.”

Phung Quang Thang, director of Hanoi Tourist Company, told local media: “It’s time to join hands to overcome common difficulties. From now on, we will enhance training for staff, plan new products and focus on promoting virus-free destinations. When the epidemic ends, we will start over for breakthrough development.”

Viking Travel and Hanoi Tourist Company are two typical cases who actively find opportunities in the context of a decline in growth for the whole tourism industry. Earlier, in late February, the Vietnam Tourism Association (VTA) made a debut of a tourism stimulation alliance as well as in collaboration with Vietnam Airlines launched the "Hello Sun" program to promote Vietnam as a safe destination amid fear of the new coronavirus disease.

 A cafe on Cat Ba island

The VTA’s Vice Chairman Vu The Binh spoke at the launch: “We are aware that we can’t stand still to wait until the end of the epidemic and for tourists to come back. We should take the initiative to deal with these difficulties now and prepare for the development of the national tourism industry.”

The program will connect hundreds of businesses across the country to work together, offering visitors with fresh and safe travel experiences. The program is part of the tourism stimulus plan with the message "Vietnam is safe" being launched from March to August 2020.

To cope with the impacts of the new coronavirus epidemic, the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) of Vietnam recommended that the tourism industry needs to find new markets to reduce risks. Europe and Australia should be the targeted markets in the future. As such, visitors from the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada would be able to enjoy visa exemption up to 30 days with unlimited entries.

Statistics from the General Statistics Office showed that in February, tourist arrivals from Europe increased by 6.1% including Russia (19.4%), the UK (1.5%), France (2.8%) compared to the previous month. Meanwhile, the growth in foreign arrivals was the lowest in the past four years and the most significant drop was seen in the number of tourists from Asia (down 27.2%), mostly from China (down 62.4%), South Korea (down 16%), Malaysia (down 3.7%) and Singapore (down 18.9%).

 Number of international tourists to Vietnam (Unit: thousand)

Facing such difficulties, provincial authorities have also made adjustments to plans on domestic tourism promotion and diversifying foreign markets in 2020. Danang is carrying out a project to restructure the tourism industry and the municipal Party Committee’s program on developing high-end tourism services and resort real estate products.

Another province, Thua Thien Hue also has taken a range of solutions to restructure the tourism market while also launching stimulus packages to overcome difficulties due to the epidemic, according to the Thua Thien Hue Tourism Association.