Oct 06, 2021 / 12:04

Hanoi tourism ‘lives together’ with Covid-19 pandemic

As the Covid-19 pandemic subsides in Hanoi, the city has been embarking on a tourism reactivation plan. Director of Hanoi Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang told The Hanoi Times about it.

The fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the country since early April. What are the consequences that it has left for Hanoi’s tourism industry?

The Covid-19 pandemic has severely damaged Hanoi’s tourism industry in 2021.

In the first nine months of 2021, Hanoi’s authorities have taken strict measures to contain the pandemic. Especially since July, even stricter rules have been applied. As a result, tourist destinations, relic sites, cultural exchange, and entertainment venues have been closed.

Hanoi has been witnessing a sharp drop in the number of tourist arrivals in the last nine months. The city welcomed only 2.9 million visitors all from inside the country, which represented a reduction of 57.5% compared to last year. Total revenue of the sector also dropped to VND8.17 trillion (US$356.1 million).

Room occupancy of hotels stood at only 21.4%, which is 6.6% lower than the figure of the same period in 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused 1,550 accommodation establishments and over 95% of businesses and travel agents to suspend operations.

Transportation usage also declined; the percentage of occupied seats in public transportation vehicles was less than 10%, all types of public transportation have also been halted during the social distancing regimen.

About 11,600 workers in the tourism industry had to quit their jobs or have their labor contracts terminated and about 21,500 other workers were temporarily out of work.

Director of Hanoi Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang. Photo: Le Nam

Hanoi People's Committee has recently issued a Directive on the relaxation of social distancing rules and gradually reopening the capital. What plan does the Hanoi Department of Tourism have to restore the operation of the industry?

In order to bring the tourism industry back to a “new normal” stage soon, the Hanoi Department of Tourism has developed a “Detailed plan for the restoration and development of tourism activities in the capital” that will be applied from now until the end of this year.

Once approved by the City People's Committee in October, local tourism destinations, facilities, and services will be allowed to reopen. During this period, Hanoi tourism will focus on domestic travelers with a campaign entitled “Hanoians travel in Hanoi”.

It is expected that Hanoi’s tourism will welcome visitors from localities in November when the pandemic is contained.

If it is possible, the capital city will fully reopen to tourism in December. During this time, the Department of Tourism will organize the “Hanoi Tourism Gift Festival 2021” on Hoan Kiem Lake pedestrian streets.

In order to execute the plan effectively, the Hanoi Department of Tourism will focus on three groups of solutions, including building a safe and innovative travel destination; organizing tourism activities and events on digital platforms; and strengthening inspection and supervision to ensure safety for visitors at tourist facilities.

The authorities have urged tourism businesses to strictly implement pandemic prevention and control measures as guided by the Ministry of Health during their business operations.

Domestic visitors to Temple of Literature. Photo: Le Nam

The “Green Travel Destination” is considered a bold initiative to encourage people to travel in the context of the pandemic. How will Hanoi build those destinations?

Building the “Green Tours” is a necessary solution to attract tourists in the post-Covid-19 period. In the coming time, the department will focus on strengthening Covid-19 prevention and control among businesses, organizations, and individuals engaging in tourism activities in the city, while improving the application of information technology in tourism management.

In addition, the department will finalize a plan on agricultural tourism development in line with new-style rural area building in the 2021-2025 period and submit it to the municipal People’s Committee for approval.

The department also encourages businesses to open trekking, sports, and relaxing tours in combination with healthcare as well as homestay tours, in which the mountain districts of Ba Vi, Son Tay, and Soc Son will become the focal point for organizing these types of tourism.

In addition, the department also recommends tour operators focus on applying information technology.

Trang Tien Street, Hanoi on an autumn afternoon. Photo: Vinh Pham/ Yeu Ha Noi

How will safety measures prevent the Covid-19 pandemic be applied by the Hanoi tourism industry in the near future?

Ensuring the safety of the community, visitors, and tourism facilities is the top priority of the capital's tourism industry. The department has required 100% of accommodation establishments and places of tourist interest to declare their level of safety on the website safe.tourism.com.vn.

In addition, the Department of Tourism will closely coordinate with the Department of Health and the local districts and towns to strengthen training for workers in the sector on pandemic prevention and control measures as well as instruct them to take timely steps in case suspected Covid-19 cases are detected.

Finally, a set of “Travel Safety Guidelines” will be developed in the near future to help holiday organizers welcome travelers while still ensuring pandemic prevention and control measures.

Thank you for your time!