Travel agencies to focus on domestic travel post COVID-19

May 05, 2020 - 15:34

Most would-be tourists are likely to choose domestic and nearby destinations after the COVID-19 pandemic due to concerns over safety and financial constraints, travel experts have said.


Only a few tourists can be seen at the Central Post Office in downtown HCM City amid concerns about health safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo

HCM CITY — Most would-be tourists are likely to choose domestic and nearby destinations after the COVID-19 pandemic due to concerns over safety and financial constraints, travel experts have said.

According to travel consulting firm Outbox Consulting, domestic travel is poised to drive Việt Nam’s tourism recovery this summer.

Domestic tours with short-haul and safe destinations would be preferred after the pandemic crisis, and travel companies should focus on working individuals and millennials instead of groups of guests.

“For now, the city’s tourism sector will focus on domestic travel,” said Bùi Tá Hoàng Vũ, director of HCM City’s Department of Tourism

Travel agencies and tour operators that meet safety standards based on a set of evaluation indicators for Covid-19 risk assessment at tourism and travel businesses will be allowed to operate tours, Vũ said.

As businesses resume operation, preventive measures to ensure the health and safety of customers is a priority to adapt to the new normal, he said.

At least 90 per cent of small- and medium-sized travel companies have suspended operations, while state-owned businesses are operating on low capacity as the coronavirus shut down travel.

He said it was a positive sign that some travel companies were set to resume operations after the holiday.

Tourists will become more price-conscious and prefer short-haul breaks due to financial constraints as the result of the pandemic.

City tourism authorities are gearing up for intensive promotions to encourage locals to travel.

Trần Việt Hùng, chairman of HCM City Tourism Association, said the association has kicked off stimulus tour programmes with discounts of 40 per cent.

Loan packages

The Tourism Advisory Board supported by the Private Sector Development Committee and Grant Thornton Vietnam surveyed 394 companies from the tourism and hospitality sector between April 13 and 17. Of these, 92 per cent were small- and medium-size enterprises with fewer than 100 employees.

Of the respondents, 71 per cent reported that their revenue in the first quarter of the year was less than 30 per cent of the revenue for the corresponding period last year, and 77 per cent were expecting revenue of the second quarter to be 80 per cent less than that of the second quarter of last year.

Eighteen per cent of surveyed companies had laid off all employees, and 48 per cent had laid off more than 50 per cent of employees.

More than 88 per cent of the companies reported need for financial support in the form of loans supported by the Government.

The Tourism Advisory Board said the Government must take action to help the industry and limit layoffs and redundancies by employers, and help businesses remain open and respond quickly when the market starts to re-open.

Trần Thế Dũng, deputy director of Young Generation Travel Company, said travel companies hoped to resume operation soon after the pandemic and retain employees that play a vital role for the recovery.

He said the Government’s loan support package was difficult for travel companies to be a part of because of concerns over the ability to repay and inability to show a positive cash flow.

Preferential policies from the Government to ease the impact of the pandemic such as corporate income tax and value-added tax breaks should be in place to help businesses remain open, he added. — VNS