Tourists at the Cái Răng floating market in Cần Thơ City. VNS Photo Thu Hằng
HCM CITY — Tourism authorities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta are stepping up efforts to attract domestic visitors, with a focus on regaining trust so that they feel safe about going to tourist destinations and lodgings there.
The Cần Thơ City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has revealed plans for reviving tourism post-COVID-19 through promotional activities and numerous measures to ensure the health and safety of visitors.
Nguyễn Minh Tuấn, deputy director of the department, said the pandemic has caused the temporary closure of most travel and tourism businesses.
In the first quarter of the year the city received only 284,700 visitors, including 40,500 foreigners, a year-on-year drop of 59 per cent.
Tourism revenues plummeted by 62 per cent to VNĐ433.7 billion (US$18.5 million).
The department is co-ordinating with health authorities to advise travel agencies and tour operators, tourist sites and hotels on infection prevention measures, Tuấn said.
It will closely monitor travel and tourism businesses for compliance with food safety and environmental protection regulations as part of efforts to promote the city as a safe, friendly and quality travel destination.
Domestic travel would be the core market for the next few months and safe destinations would be preferred during the recovery period, he said.
Authorities in An Giang Province have ordered tourist sites and historic relics to strictly comply with infection prevention measures after reopening.
Disinfectant sprays, hand sanitisers, face masks, and safe physical distancing of at least one metre are mandatory requirements at tourist destinations.
Nguyễn Khánh Hiệp, director of the province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said there were only 50,000 visitors during the four-day holiday from April 30 to May 3, a low number compared to last year.
But it indicated green shoots of recovery considering most popular tourist destinations nation-wide have been empty due to COVID-19 fears, Hiệp said.
Speaking at an online meeting held by the Việt Nam Tourism Association on May 6, Lê Thanh Phong, deputy chairman of the Mekong Delta Tourism Association, said the region is fully prepared to implement a campaign launched by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to revive the industry hardest hit by the pandemic.
A total of 33 hotels, restaurants and tourist sites in the delta have registered to join the campaign, which offers discounts of 20-40 per cent on tours and services, he said.
The Mekong Delta Tourism Association is working with the HCM City Tourism Association to organise fam trips to tourist destinations in the delta, he said.
Mauro Gasparotti, director of Savills Hotels Asia Pacific, said: “It is the local market that represents the first stage of recovery. Following Vietnamese Government regulations on social distancing, a majority of hotels and resorts in Việt Nam have been closed but most are planning to reopen in May with attractive local promotions.
“However, people are likely to remain sceptical about flying and the safety of crowded airports, so it may take a little longer to feel comfortable boarding planes.
“The large number of local travellers and Vietnamese outbound tourist numbers, which reached 10 million in 2018, are all great metrics to rely on for a solid re-start”. — VNS