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COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage travel industry

Update: February, 07/2021 - 17:46

 

Mũi Nai beach in Kiên Giang Province. VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải

HCM CITY — A resurgence of Covid-19 just before theTết (Lunar New Year) holiday has hugely impacted travelling, again demonstrating its impact on the tourism industry.

“There has been an immediate impact on the hospitality business with several cancellations across the country, not only in the affected destinations but anywhere with access via an airport,” Mauro Gasparotti, director of Savills Hotels Asia Pacific, said.

“Prior to these local transmissions, the industry was anticipating increased travel demand during and after the Tết holiday, which would have been a good start to the year,” Gasparotti said.

Travel interest is diminishing amid a mist of uncertainty with air travel demand dropping 15 per cent immediately after the news release.

Online flight search demand to Đà Nẵng and HCM City during this peak period of the year dropped 35 per cent and 34 per cent week-on-week respectively, according to OTA Insight.

Some companies immediately enforced travel restrictions, with requests to limit attending events and large gatherings.

This has directly affected MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) business in city hotels, where several conferences have been put on hold or delayed.

Drive-to destinations have also been affected by weekend cancellations.

Last year international arrivals to the country numbered just 3.8 million, a 78 per cent decline from 2019.

Domestic traveller numbers fell 34 per cent to 56 million.

Hotels and resorts suffered badly, with many being forced into temporary closure.

Last year occupancy and average daily rates (ADR) both dropped, while revenues fell 70 per cent.

In Hà Nội, the average occupancy was 32 per cent compared to 80 per cent in 2019 while it dropped to 23 percent in HCM City from 72 per cent.

The national average of 62 per cent in 2019 plummeted to just 24 per cent last year.

January started on a positive note, with hotels in key destinations seeing increased MICE and event bookings while at some resorts corporate bookings started to return, Gasparotti said.

“The market in 2021 is expected to be broadly similar to most of 2020, at least until borders reopen to leisure and business trade. Hotels have adapted by considerably reducing operating costs to establish lower breakeven points.

“The good news is that several destinations are still performing at acceptable levels.”

The performance in December and January was positive for destinations like Phú Quốc and Vũng Tàu, which appeal to both local leisure travellers and year-end company trips.

Some hotels have used promotions, such as ‘staycation’ packages and F&B deals to nurture local demand, which have propped up their numbers. —VNS

 

 

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