|Mã Pì Lèng Pass, a popular destination for tourists in Hà Giang Province. The COVID-19 pandemic is badly affecting tourism businesses. VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Chiến|
HÀ GIANG — Tourism businesses and authorities in the northern province of Hà Giang are implementing several solutions to survive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tourism sector was the first and worst impacted by the pandemic, with the number of tourists decreasing sharply and the number of tours dropping.
Cancellation of bookings was common for local homestays, hotels and tourism businesses.
The fourth wave of COVID-19 cases in late April this year has pushed many businesses into further difficulties.
According to many tourism establishments, most tours to Hà Giang Province in June were cancelled.
Đinh Quốc Khánh, owner of Sky View Homestay in Suối Thầu 2 Hamlet, Bản Luốc Commune of Hoàng Su Phì District, said: “My homestay covers an area of 3,000 sq.m and we invested over VNĐ4 billion (US$173,000). We just opened in early 2020.”
“But since then, we have been continuously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Khánh said.
“During May and June this year, we had to cancel tours and refund tourists,” he said.
The homestay owner had to find ways to maintain income while waiting for the pandemic to be brought under control and tourism activities to resume.
“We decided to plant fruit trees such as plums, pears and peaches to increase our income as well as make the area greener,” she said.
“Along with that, we are trying to promote our image, so that when the pandemic is controlled, we can welcome more guests,” Khánh said.
For tourism businesses, the larger the investment, the greater the damage.
H’mông Village Investment and Tourism Company is one example.
With an investment of over VNĐ80 billion (US$3.5 million), when it first came into operation last year, this facility was also continuously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to continuous postponment and cancellation, causing great losses to the business.
In May and June this year, all accommodation bookings in H'Mông Village Resort. Quản Bạ District, were cancelled due to the fourth wave of the pandemic spreading to many localities in the country.
Lại Quốc Tĩnh, the company’s management board chairman, said: "In the difficult situation, we planned to lauch promotion programmes to assure tourists that Hà Giang is a safe destination.”
“We built a programme to welcome tourists for 1 to 2 days, which is enough for visitors to experience the cultural space. The goal was to welcome tourists in Hà Giang and some neighbouring provinces," Tĩnh said.
Nguyễn Hồng Hải, director of the provincial Culture, Sport and Tourism Department, said that Hà Giang was one of the provinces that did well in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic but the provincial tourism industry was still facing great difficulties.
All business establishments, resorts, cultural villages, travel businesses and tourism-related services have been badly affected, he said.
In the first six months this year, Hà Giang Province attracted an estimated 642,000 tourists, just 38 per cent of the regular figure, and total revenue from tourists reached VNĐ1.157 trillion (US$50 million), 37.8 per cent of the yearly plan.
Due to the pandemic, all cultural and tourism events in Hà Giang were postponed, meaning tourism and service businesses had no income.
Business establishments still had to pay salaries, insurance for employees, rental fees and interest that caused losses to these establishments.
“To help tourism businesses survive in the pandemic, the province has directed the tourism industry to coordinate with relevant sectors to focus on guiding and supporting tourism and service businesses to enjoy the supporting policies of the Government and the province to partly ease difficulties,” said Hải.
The province also requested the establishments to strictly comply with anti-pandemic regulations and prepare well for when the pandemic was controlled, he added. VNS