Tourism sector will resume activities in safety: Deputy PM

October 15, 2021 - 07:32

The number of international tourists visiting Việt Nam in 2020 was 3.7 million, an 80 per cent decrease on 2019. Most of these arrived in January and February 2020, before the pandemic took hold. 

HÀ NỘI  Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam has said that when tourism activities resume, they will resume safely. Between now and the end of the year tourism will be gradually reintroduced across the country.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will issue guidelines that allow for adaption to any developing situation. The authorities will mobilise enough resources to deal with the ongoing threat. 

"The guidelines should be very detailed, from transportation, how to correctly conduct tests and the conditions of destinations and accommodation, as well as co-operation between localities and healthcare facilities to deal with positive cases quickly,” he said.

Visitors in VinWonder Phú Quốc complex in Phú Quốc Island. The island will host a pilot scheme to receive international visitors in November this year. VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Đạt

He also said tourism associations should have their own guidelines, in addition to official guidelines, to encourage a proactive approach to reopening safely. 

He assigned the Ministry of Transport to issue guidance on road, rail, and air transport. The ministry will also provide detailed directions to passengers.

“All travelling activities must obey the five safety rules issued by the Ministry of Health, especially the wearing of masks and maintaining a safe distance,” he stressed.

Regarding international visitors, the Deputy Prime Minister has assigned agencies to coordinate with the provinces of Kiên Giang and Khánh Hòa, to plan for the return of foreign tourists under a pilot scheme in November.

The General Director of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, Nguyễn Trùng Khánh, highlighted the impact the pandemic has had on the sector since 2020. 

The number of international tourists visiting Việt Nam in 2020 was 3.7 million, an 80 per cent decrease on 2019. Most of these arrived in January and February 2020, before the pandemic took hold. 

The number of domestic travellers decreased to 56 million, a fall of 34 per cent on the previous year.

Total revenue from tourism in 2020 was VNĐ312,200 billion (US$13,693 million), a 59 per cent decrease against 2019.

The numbers continued to freefall in 2021. In the first nine months of the year, domestic visitors fell to 31.5 million, a further 16 per cent decrease on 2020. The total revenue from the industry was just VNĐ 137,000 billion, a further 42 per cent fall on the same period of 2020.

Some 30 per cent of tourism enterprises have withdrawn from operation entirely. There are now around 2,000 enterprises offering their services throughout the country.

In the accommodation sector, around 90 per cent of hotels and resorts do not have guests, except those acting as official quarantine facilities.

Khánh said the ministry is working with local authorities in Kiên Giang to finish planning for the pilot scheme, which will herald the return of international visitors at the end of November this year.

He said the focus will be on ensuring safety for both destinations and visitors. A level of diversification will be required to adapt to the new operating conditions, as well as reacting to any developments that may happen as a result. 

Besides Phú Quốc in Kiên Giang Province, some provinces like Khánh Hòa, Quảng Nam, Đà Nẵng City and Quảng Ninh have made their own plans to restart international tourism routes.

It has been proposed that international tourism be reintroduced step by step; firstly in November in Phú Quốc, then in December in other areas like Quảng Ninh, Đà Nẵng and Quảng Nam.

The industry plans to fully reopen to foreign tourists in the second quarter of next year, if it is safe to do so. 

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is completing guidelines for domestic travelling. Khánh said the activities will be hindered for now by the fact that many people in different areas have not yet fully  vaccinated.

The ministry also asked the Government to consider promoting the pilot scheme with favourable policies, like visa or visa fee exemptions. VNS