A view of FLC Quy Nhơn in the central province of Bình Định. The province is preparing all resources to be the sixth destination for international tourists. — Photo courtesy of FLC
By Vũ Hoa
BÌNH ĐỊNH — The central province of Bình Định is preparing to become the sixth destination for international tourists before January 2022, together with Kiên Giang, Khánh Hòa, Quảng Nam, Đà Nẵng and Quảng Ninh.
Lâm Hải Giang, Vice Chairman of Bình Định Provincial People’s Committee, said the tourism industry had been seriously affected and the country needed to work hard for recovery. However, the opening of international tourism depended on disease control as well as vaccine coverage.
“The connection among localities and businesses in tourism recovery and development is very necessary. Without this connection, the tourism industry will struggle,” Giang said.
He said that the province planned to welcome guests on package tours because it was not safe to receive individual visitors. The province was considering criteria and conditions for tourists. Bình Định would set criteria for arrivals to the province to ensure safety.
“Bình Định was supposed to be a new destination, but 'new is old if we don’t know how to renew ourselves'. The province wants to offer the most comfortable experience for guests. This is why procedures for picking up passengers and traffic hubs must be simple and safe. The province will introduce measures to both ensure pandemic control and create comfort for visitors,” he added.
Ultimately, the success of the programme would depend on the efforts of businesses. Enterprises needed to be ready in terms of facilities, human resources and having new products for customers.
Trần Văn Thanh, Director of Bình Định’s Department of Tourism, said that the province was developing specific plans.
On average, Bình Định welcomes around 200,000 international visitors every year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021, the province only received 77,000 visitors.
“We are continuing to research and focus on the East Asian, Southeast Asian and US market. To prepare to welcome international guests, Bình Định gives priority to safety and flexibly adapting according to the Government’s policy. Accordingly, Bình Định has strongly implemented COVID-19 prevention measures."
In addition, it is necessary to encourage tourism businesses to meet 3-4-5 star standards and prepare conditions to welcome guests.
In 2022, if the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, the province will continue to increase the number of tourists, trying to welcome 80,000 – 100,000 domestic visitors.
In the second half of 2022, the province wishes to welcome international guests. Accordingly, the province could welcome 400,000 domestic tourists and over 100,000 international visitors.
Nguyễn Hoàng Vũ, Chairman of Bình Định Tourism Association, said that the 4th wave of COVID-19 lasted for a long time, severely affecting the society and the economy. However, Quy Nhơn City had vaccinated 97 per cent of the population and was ready to welcome tourists, ensuring the dual goals of both economic development and pandemic prevention.
“Human resources are also an important factor that Bình Định needs to pay attention to in stimulating tourism demand. We are facing a lack of human resources in tourism and need a long-term plan for human resources to serve the upcoming tourism development,” Vũ said.
Vũ Thế Bình, permanent vice chairman of the Việt Nam Tourism Association, said that Bình Định has great potential to become the tourist centre of the South Central region. However, the perception of tourism development in localities was not uniform and neither were their policies. Bình outlined two issues. The first was to always ensure COVID-19 prevention and get people vaccinated, while the second was to prevent further outbreaks.
“Businesses will understand the problems. We must believe in them. The decisive issue is that the locality comes up with a specific and feasible solution, and businesses need to implement it seriously on ways to prevent COVID-19,” he added.
Nguyễn Mạnh Quân, Permanent Deputy General Director of Bamboo Airways, said that domestic tourism would be a focus in the fourth quarter. However, the Government and businesses also needed to consider the restoration of flight routes, spreading the message of green tourism with specific criteria. In terms of stimulating demand, the main goal was to create green products.
"Currently, Việt Nam has five localities that are eligible to welcome international visitors. If Bình Định could become the 6th tourism destination, the development opportunities for the industry would be better. It needs the Government’s support as well as the efforts of localities and businesses,” Quân said.
He added that Bamboo Airways had operated international flights to Việt Nam. Most flights, after a rigorous testing and isolation process, ensured safety, and it was very rare that cases arise. This would be an important condition to enter the opening phase to welcome international guests as well as participate in recovery.
Cao Trí Dũng, Chairman of the Đà Nẵng Tourism Association, suggested that Bình Định Province’s leaders create conditions for businesses to overcome difficulties. Service facilities, destinations, and tourism companies in the province needed to quickly offer unique product packages.
For each stream of visitors, it was necessary to have a different ecosystem for travel companies to easily deploy and exploit their strengths. Travel businesses also needed more distinctive products.
From a business perspective, Bùi Hải Huyền, Member of the Board of Directors, General Director of FLC Group, proposed to get early approval to recognise Bình Định as a green destination as soon as possible, before January 2022.
The province should continue to promote co-operation with neighbouring localities to attract tourists. It also needed to quickly give detailed instructions to service providers, tourists and residents. Finally, the province could promote communication, co-ordinate with FLC Group to make Bình Định a new and attractive destination. Travel companies needed to come up with initiatives for Bình Định in general and FLC in particular to introduce and promote products to foreign travel agencies.
“To prepare for welcoming international guests, FLC also commits that Bamboo Airways and the group's ecosystem will comply with the instructions by agencies in welcoming international passengers; continuously upgrade services and strengthen disease control capacity. In addition, FLC has expanded vaccination coverage. Currently, all staff of Quy Nhơn and FLC have had two doses of vaccines. We have built a self-contained, safe, full-service tourism programme and submitted it to Bình Định Province with the hope of early approval to prepare to welcome international guests,” she added. — VNS