Sep 29, 2021 / 17:11

Domestic tourism recovery: Safety is the key

A nationwide program themed Vietnam Tourism: Green Connection will help the local tourism industry take off.

Vietnam's tour operators are working together to restart travel and win back customer confidence as the number of new novel coronavirus cases has decreased remarkably in the southern region of the country and the pandemic is gradually contained in some northern provinces.

The nostalgic charming of the Old Quarter Area in Hanoi. Photo: Linh Sep Go/ Yeu Ha Noi

The tourism action program called “Vietnam Tourism: Green Connection” was launched by the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) on September 28.

“Green tours” ready to serve

In order to actively adapt to the re-opening of tourism, many travel businesses nationwide have currently launched “green tourism” products in accordance with the “green criteria” given by VITA.

According to Vice Chairman of Hanoi Travel Association Phung Quang Thang, the tourism industry still has a chance to recover in the last months of 2021 and early 2022.

“Hanoi tourism agencies will soon connect ‘green destinations’ with ‘green travel agencies’ to run ‘green tourism journeys’ for eligible tourists with ‘green vaccination passport’,” he told The Hanoi Times.

 “In order to ensure the sustainability of future tourism recovery measures, all parties that involved in the supply chain such as tour agents, hotels, restaurant and entertainment service providers, among others must comply with the ‘safe green criteria’ as mentioned above,” he added.

The fabulous travel attraction in Hanoi outskirt- Duong Lam ancient village. Photo: Van Phuc 

Some travel agencies such as Hanoitourist, VietFoot Travel, Vietrantour, Asia Sun Travel, among others have already built a number of pilot tourism products serving domestic travelers’ needs. It is expected that these experimental tours will be run very soon, starting in early October this year.

Deputy Director of Hanoitourist Travel Company Le Hong Thai said that Hanoitourist will introduce some typical tourism products in the coming time such as caravan tour with the self-driving car from Hanoi to Duong Lam ancient village or Hoa Lu ancient capital in the northern province of Ninh Binh; tour from Hanoi to the eastern mountainous area; tour from Hanoi to Sa Pa in the northern mountain province of Lao Cai, or Hoang Su Phi in Ha Giang Province, Mu Cang Chai in Yen Bai Province, Moc Chau in Son La Province and so on.

"We also work closely with local homestays and hotels to offer safe MICE travel services," Thai said.

The VGreen Sustainable Tourism Club will offer travelers a half-day and a one-day bicycle tour around Hanoi to visit various tourist sites as well as the island in the middle of the Red River.

The club will also serve bicycle tours to the central province of Thanh Hoa lasting three days; from Hanoi to Ninh Binh and Nam Dinh over three days; Hanoi - Ha Giang in three days, among others.

The endless beauty of Hanoi with old French-style architecture. Photo: Khanh Huy 

Assessing the preparation of local travel agencies for the soon-to-be-opened safe domestic tourism, Deputy Director of Hanoi Department of Tourism Tran Trung Hieu stated that “it is necessary to have close coordination between service providers, destinations, authorities and management agencies as well as tour associations to ensure a sustainable tourism in the future”.

The fourth wave of Covid-19 has plunged tourism companies into even deeper difficulties, with many firms shut down completely.

Throughout the past eight months of the year, Hanoi recorded a total of 2.92 million travelers, a drop of 54.7% compared to the same period last year. In addition, revenue from domestic visitors during the reviewed period hit VND8.17 trillion, a decline of 64.7% compared to the previous year.

The tourism action program “Vietnam Tourism: Green Connection” is expected to contribute to helping businesses gradually overcome difficulties and catch up with the development of the national economy in the “new normal” stage.

Keywords: Safety and the right distance

According to Vu The Binh, Vice President of the Vietnam Tourism Association, in parallel with preparing to welcome international tourists to Phu Quoc in November, what the local tourism industry can do right now is to restore the domestic tourism market.

Binh suggested localities and tourism businesses actively build their own plans for resuming activities while urging them to ensure ‘safe tourism’ criteria.

“The requirement is to ensure safety factors during travel activities,” he said.

Accordingly, travelers over 18 years of age are required to have a certificate of full vaccination or recovery. Those under 18 years of age must have evidence of a negative RT-PCR result for SARS-CoV-2 issued 48 hours prior to participating in the inner-provincial tourism or intra-city tours.

In addition, travel businesses must ensure that 100% of employees are vaccinated against Covid-19. Tourism workers who often come into direct contact with travelers such as tour guides, drivers, car assistants, among other need to be provided with the necessary equipment to protect themselves from coronavirus.

Regarding the travel programs, tour agents must clarify some additional terms in their travel contracts such as the cost of testing for SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19 treatment in case travelers got infected by the virus, as well as insurance costs.

In the “Green Zone Tourism” at the localities, in order to ensure pandemic prevention, tourist facilities must limit the number of visitors to below 30% of their capacity.

The iconic Hoan Kiem Lake in early-morning autumn. Photo: Nguyen Ngoc Tu/ Yeu Hanoi

As for accommodation establishments, it is recommended to arrange two travelers who are members of a family with the same epidemiological factors into a room. In the case of individual travelers who do not have the same epidemiological factors as others, separate rooms shall be arranged.

For food and beverage service providers, priority is given to in the room service. The restaurant needs to offer a separate dining area for each group of travelers while keeping the right distance between diners or traveler groups.