Tourists travelled to the central city of Đà Nẵng for meetings, incentives, conferencing, andexhibitions early this month. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam needs to research solutions and prepare all necessary conditions to open border for foreign tourists from July 2021, according to Nguyễn Hữu Thọ, chairman of the Việt Nam Tourism Association.
About 95 per cent of domestic tour operators providing tours for foreign visitors had to stop operating since the beginning of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of hotels were closed and millions of workers in the tourism industry were put out of work. Therefore, the tourism industry needs new solutions to overcome the current crisis, Thọ said.
Opening borders to foreign tourists is the only solution to recover the tourism sector that contributed 9.2 per cent of total GDP in 2019, Thọ said.
The effective control of COVID-19 is an advantage for the domestic tourism industry to be able to welcome foreign tourists from the beginning of the third quarter of 2021. Now, regional countries with developed tourism sectors have plans to open borders to welcome back international visitors, reported the Đầu tư (Investment) newspaper.
Specifically, Thailand has announced it would reopen the tourism market for foreign visitors from July 2021, Singapore welcomes international visitors who have negative COVID-19 test certificates and Indonesia will open its doors to Bali. Meanwhile, the European Union is planning to provide a "vaccine passport" to help people travel freely. This also helps the tourism and aviation industries resume operations, according to Thọ.
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hương, deputy director of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, said the administration is studying a plan to reopen the tourism market for international visitors.
Việt Nam cannot receive massive numbers of foreign tourists, but it cannot be slow due to competition from other regional countries. The domestic travel companies can choose key markets with high demand visiting Việt Nam, build tour packages and choose a convenient airport destination and an independent resort to receive the international visitors, Hương said.
Many localities want to welcome international and domestic tourists but they are afraid of the pandemic, so they do not dare do that, she said.
Lương Hoài Nam, member of the Việt Nam Tourism Advisory Council (TAB), said the vaccine is a basic measure and the only way for the world to get rid of COVID-19. The population that gets vaccinations becomes a safe community. This group has about 200 million people and this figure is growing rapidly, especially in developed countries.
Many foreigners are beginning to think about finding an attractive tourism destination after getting vaccinated. That is a good opportunity for Việt Nam to recover plans on economic development, including tourism and aviation sectors. It should not wait for the pandemic to end to plan re-opening its tourism market for foreign visitors. It needs to have this plan now for vaccinated visitors, Nam said.
He said before having the COVID-19 vaccine, a safe area is a well-controlled place like Việt Nam, but when this vaccine is available, the safe area is a place with high vaccination rates like Israel. There will be more countries with high vaccination rates including the US and Europe. Therefore, Việt Nam should not be slow to receive visitors from safe areas as well as building up tours for Vietnamese tourists to those safe areas.
Vũ Thế Bình, permanent vice president of the Việt Nam Tourism Association, said the opening of the tourism market for foreigners may face opposition from many, but Việt Nam needs to prepare plans to recover the tourism sector. The association will have a plan to welcome foreign visitors back from the third or fourth quarter of 2021.
In the first days of March, a lot of travel agencies in HCM City welcomed guests on tours. Some companies also have departures after the Lunar New Year, according to Đại Đoàn Kết newspaper.
Nguyễn Minh Mẫn, head of the TSTtourist Company's Communications Department, said that in March, the company organised many tours from HCM City to domestic tourist destinations such as Phú Quốc, Sa Pa - Hà Nội - Ninh Bình, Đà Nẵng, Buôn Ma Thuột, Phan Thiết, Đà Lạt and Huế. It will increase the tours in April.
Other companies also welcomed many groups of tourists in HCM City and to neighbouring provinces such as Đồng Nai, Bình Dương and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu. Most travel companies hope that the tourism market will recover in the second quarter of 2021.
According to them, in 2021, small groups of tourists is a new trend. That means a group of 10-15 tourists instead of a group of 30-50 people.
To ensure a safe trip for guests, travel companies affirm that they implement anti-pandemic regulations of the Ministry of Health for the tourism sector.
However, the travel businesses want to have affiliate programmes between parties, including aviation, railway, road, service providers, travel agencies and hotels to create attractive tour packages. — VNS