|Tourists enjoy a one-day tour to Củ Chi earlier this month. — Photo tuoitre.vn|
HCM CITY — HCM City’s tourism industry is implementing a recovery roadmap and building tourism products that can be deployed immediately.
At a recent meeting between authorities and travel agencies, Deputy Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Phan Thị Thắng stressed the importance of safe and suitable tourism products to be introduced at the moment.
The severe and prolonged impact of COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected targets set for the city’s tourism industry this year.
Statistics from people’s committees of Thủ Đức City and districts have shown that up to 90 per cent of small- and medium-sized travel agencies specialising in the international tourism market have suspended operations since April 2021.
From the beginning of 2020 to September 25, 2021, a total of 190 agencies withdrew their travel business licences.
Despite various difficulties, HCM City has planned to warm up the industry, following the positive vaccination rate of Thủ Đức City and all districts.
More tourism activities that are friendly with the current COVID-19 situation will be restored in the end of 2021 and early next year, according to city Department of Tourism.
The industry will open up depending on the level of safety and the domestic market will play a key role during the recovery period.
“Safe human resources, destinations and tourism services, together with strong connectivity with neighbouring provinces, will be emphasised," director of the city Department of Tourism Nguyễn Thị Ánh Hoa said.
The roadmap to restore operations of the tourism industry is expected to be carried out in three phases.
The first phase, taking place this month, involves reopening of attractions only in “green zone” areas. Tourists must travel in groups, visit and leave attractions in places where the epidemic has been effectively controlled, including Củ Chi, Cần Giờ, Nhà Bà and District 7, during the day.
Travel agencies, accommodation establishments and attractions must ensure safety in accordance with guidance from relevant authorities.
HCM City will reduce the scale and scope of tourism activities in case the epidemic worsens.
“It is crucial to review the human resources situation of the tourism industry and soon find ways to attract quality manpower for effective recovery process,” Chairman of the city Tourism Association Nguyễn Thị Khánh said.
Closed bubble tours
Along with a number of closed tours piloted to serve the frontline forces against the pandemic recently, HCM City needs to soon reconnect with neighbouring localities to build a series of safe destinations, Khánh said.
“When activities of the aviation industry resume, it is possible to build closed tours from the city to other localities,” she added.
According to Võ Anh Tài, deputy general director of Saigon Tourism Corporation (Saigontourist Group), connectivity across cities and provinces is necessary to create diverse tourism products.
However, it is important for all destinations to agree on safety criteria as handling of epidemic prevention in some places is very strict.
Introduction of “closed bubble” tours is possible, especially when HCM City is becoming a safe destination due to high vaccination rate, General Director of Vietravel Company Trần Đoàn Thế Duy said.
Travel agencies will have the power to decide on organisation of tourism activities while ensuring safety based on guidance from relevant authorities, Thắng said, adding that a detailed plan for every programme is required.
Travel agencies in HCM City have started to offer green tours to Cần Giờ and Củ Chi after HCM City reopened on October 1.
While day tours to Cần Giờ are sold from VNĐ1.6 million (US$75) per person, those to Củ Chi cost VNĐ680,000 a person. They will be available after October 15 on weekends.
A representative of Saigontourist Travel said that the decision to launch official tours were made after eight successful tours for over 1,000 doctors and nurses to Cần Giờ and Củ Chi last month and bookings from some business firms.
“Our tours have received positive responses. Since there is a very fast recovery of supply and service chains in the two destinations, we are confident to offer tours,” the representative said.
The tours are helping restore economic activities and providing travel agencies with valuable insights to launch quality tourism products in the next stages, an expert said. — VNS