Tourists visited the Golden Brige in Đà Nẵng CIty before the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the city since last weekend. — Photo baochinhphu.vn
HÀ NỘI — The resurgence of community COVID-19 transmission in Đà Nẵng City meant Bùi Kiều Anh from Hà Nội cancelled her family trip to the coastal city that was meant to begin today.
Anh planned the trip a month ago, booking all the flights and paying for the hotels in Đà Nẵng and Hội An where her family would stay.
However, the resurgence of the virus in the city and the nearby central province of Quảng Ngãi made her fear for her family's safety, especially the small children and elderly relatives set to join.
“The total fees I have paid are VNĐ31 million (US$1,338) covering accommodation and flights for eight adults and two children under two.
“I discussed with the travel agency and was told that my flights would be refunded but there has been no word about refunding my room deposit yet. I’m really sad that it is not a small amount of money, but I would feel much more worried if we went on the trip at this time because my group consists of both the elderly and small kids,” she said.
“Moreover, I think that staying at home instead of travelling at this time also helps reduce the likeliness of spreading the virus among the community.”
Anh was among thousands of Vietnamese tourists who had their tours cancelled after Viet Nam's 99-day steak of no community transmission was ended.
As well as Đà Nẵng where new cases have been found and tourists banned, other destinations nationwide have also witnessed a sharp decrease in tourists since last weekend.
According to a representative of a travel agency in HCM City, their Đà Nẵng – Huế - Hội An and Lý Sơn Tours have all been halted. By the end of July 26, it was estimated that more than 20,000 tourists departing from HCM City cancelled tours to the north, Nha Trang, Phú Yên or Phú Quốc.
Director of Tây Bắc Tourism Company, Nguyễn Văn Tùng said the company planned to serve 15 groups of nearly 400 tourists in August, but a group to Lý Sơn Island in Quảng Ngãi Province has cancelled their tour. Meanwhile, tours to popular destinations like Hà Nội, Hạ Long, Ninh Bình and Sa Pa, even those departing in September, have been cancelled by tourists, Tùng added.
About 260 customers of Hi Travel Tour Operator based in HCM City cancelled their tours to Hà Nội in early August, in addition to tours to Đà Nẵng.
"Until now, only Đà Nẵng has announced the implementation of social distancing, while other localities have only recommended tightening measures of pandemic prevention. Tourism agencies still operate normally so if customers cancel tours, they will have to accept losing some fees following the regulations of service providers included in the tours like transportation and accommodation,” Hiệp told vnexpress.vn.
According to a representative of the Vietnam Tourism Association, tourists’ concerns are understandable as the source of new COVID-19 infections has not been identified.
Tourism severely affected
According to a recent report published by the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, both the number of international tourist to Việt Nam and total revenue from tourism were cut in half in the first half of 2020.
The number of international tourists arriving in the country exceeded 3.5 million, down 49.5 per cent compared to the first six months of 2019. Domestic tourists reached 23 million, of which 11.8 million have stayed at tourist accommodation. The total revenue from tourism is estimated at VNĐ 176.8 trillion (US$7,6 billion), down 47.7 per cent compared to same period of 2019.
The report also noted that tourism activities of both localities and businesses have faced many difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the first quarter of 2020, 95 per cent of travel agencies offering outbound tours stopped operating, the number of tourism enterprises applying for licenses of outbound tours decreased by 48 per cent while the average occupancy of accommodation only reached about 20 per cent compared with the same period of last year.
However, many provinces recorded a sharp increase in the number of domestic tourists in June, from 1.5 to three times compared to May.
According to the report, the severe impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic forced many domestic tourism promotion programmes and international co-operation activities to be either halted or changed. — VNS