Tourists receive free masks in front of Ngọc Sơn Temple, a tourist spot near Hoàn Kiếm Lake. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Cường
HÀ NỘI — The imminent loss of tourism revenue due to the current spread of deadly coronavirus has prompted authorities and businesses to discuss plans to revive the tourism industry when the epidemic ends.
The Tourism Department of Hà Nội hosted a meeting on Wednesday with experts and enterprises to deal with the situation.
Due to the outbreak, many inbound tours scheduled for March and April have been cancelled, according to department director Trần Đức Hải.
“It’s estimated that the number of tourists at destinations in the capital will decrease 30-50 per cent compared with the same period last year,” he said.
“Counting to February 3, the number of cancelled rooms is 13,000 nationwide, as many as 7,600 inbound guests and 7,100 outbound guests have cancelled their tours,” said Hải.
Many tourist sites in the capital have been closed such as Tây Hồ Temple and Hỏa Lò Prison.
“The spring and Lunar New Year with many festivals and entertainment events are the high season of Vietnamese tourism, however, the coronavirus outbreak has led to losses for the national tourism industry and the capital's industry in particular.”
“We call travel companies to turn these challenges to opportunities to work on new campaigns, it’s time for us to review what we have done and what we have not, experiment new products and focus on training,” Hải said.
Vice director of Vietravel Company Phạm Văn Bảy said the situation is complex and similar to when the SARS epidemic influenced Việt Nam almost 20 years ago.
“Due to the long outbreak, many tour guides moved to work in other fields leading to a lack of human resources then,” Bảy said.
“To prevent this situation, travel companies should maintain the staff to guarantee the workforce after the outbreak.”
“The Liberation Day holiday (April 30) is a chance for us to recover after these obstacles, we also need to prepare for the coming summer holiday, if the preparation is done well, the tourism industry will be great again in the next quarter of the year,” Bảy added.
The department has asked international travel companies to stop receiving tourists from areas with confirmed outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, and suspend outbound trips to epidemic-hit regions as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
As for tourists who are on tours in Hà Nội, travel firms must carry out comprehensive measures to closely monitor their customers’ health conditions, as well as follow recommendations of the health authority. — VNS