Tourists often visit the Northwest region near the end of the year. Photo courtesy of baodautu.vn
HCM CITY — High-quality, affordably priced tours are needed to attract local tourists, especially following the second COVID-19 outbreak that occurred this summer, experts have said.
Now that the outbreak is mostly under control, more tourist attractions are open for business and have introduced promotional tourism packages. But tourism agencies need preferential policies from the State to revive their operations.
The director of Sai Gòn Star Company, Huỳnh Văn Sơn, said it was necessary to ease tourists’ travel anxiety.
“Reducing tour prices and locals’ travel costs must be part of demand stimulus policies. For example, a tour to Phú Quốc usually costs VNĐ8 million (US$345), but it should be cut to VNĐ6 million at this time,” Sơn said.
Chairman of the Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Province Tourism Association Phạm Ngọc Hải said that tourism agencies have agreed to reduce their price by 50 per cent or more during the second phase of the stimulus programme.
The association has told participating business firms that they should think of creating new tours and products. “Due to the low-peak tourism season, especially when international tourists cannot come now, it is crucial to to 'turn on' the deep-sale mode,” Hải added.
Located in the busy old quarter of Hà Nội, Solasta Restaurant at Solaria Hotel Hà Nội has launched discounted set menus to attract domestic customers. A three-course European buffet set is currently VNĐ159,000 for the first customer and VNĐ80,000 for the second diner in a group.
Restaurant manager Phương Hằng My said that diners were excited to experience high-quality dishes and luxury spaces such as Solasta Restaurant at affordable prices.
“However, in terms of revenue, the restaurant has suffered a loss since this price is only enough to buy ingredients and pay part of our staffs’ salary. It does not cover rent. We consider this as an advertising cost and a way of retaining our employees," My said.
Meanwhile, the general director of Flamingo Redtours Company, Nguyễn Công Hoan, said that the upcoming months are the low season of tourism as students are returning to school and most families have been negatively affected by the pandemic.
The demand for travel is expected to drop compared to previous years.
“This time, we plan to launch new special tourism products that elevate travellers’ usual experiences. All of them will be offered at reasonable prices,” Hoan added.
Most tour operators said that despite their efforts to come up with new tours, sales are only about 30 per cent of the number compared to June and July. If the pandemic is further controlled and international flight routes reopen, the tourism market will be brighter.
Stimulating demand and promoting safe tourism are the two goals of Vietravel Company, the General Department of Tourism, and tourism management agencies from HCM City and Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu, Bình Thuận and Tây Ninh provinces.
According to the chairman of Vietravel's Board of Directors, Nguyễn Quốc Kỳ, it is crucial to develop a digital safe tourism map for each locality, then integrate all the elements into a bigger country map in order to ensure efficiency and make it easier for locals to plan their trips.
“Relevant authorities should consider choosing key destinations in each region, such as the Southeast with HCM City, Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu, Bình Thuận and Tây Ninh, and the Red River Quadrangle with Hà Nội, Hải Phòng, Quảng Ninh and Ninh Bình, when building stimulus tourism programmes," Kỳ said.
Each region should have different plans, and HCM City and Hà Nội, as the two main suppliers of tourists for the country, should be the first places for these promotional campaigns.
Even though tourism promotion is necessary to “reheat” the market after the second wave of COVID-19, secretary general of the Tourism Advisory Council, Hoàng Nhân Chính, said that stimulus progammes must be considered thoroughly in order to benefit travel agencies. Before launching any programme, authorities should research locals’ travel behaviours and demands.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has resumed its domestic tourism stimulus programme to boost domestic travel demand as the COVID-19 pandemic gradually comes under control.
Themed ‘Việt Nam – a safe and attractive destination’, the programme, which began on September 18, offers attractive stimulus travel packages through the year.
A number of quality tourism products and service packages at reasonable prices will be introduced with flexible cancellation and postponement policies.
The ministry has called on local tourism authorities and travel and tourism firms to deliver messages to public to highlight the attractiveness and uniqueness of various destinations.
The tourism sector in co-ordination with travel firms will promote communication about safe and attractive destinations to restore travel confidence and demand.
All tour programmes are required to follow COVID-19 safety and prevention protocols to ensure the safety of staff, guests and communities.
The Việt Nam Tourism Association has been instructed to co-ordinate with its alliance of industry stakeholders, experts and enterprises to provide more attractive and safe options for travellers.
The alliance was established in February to revive the tourism industry, which has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
The tourism stimulus programme was launched in May but was temporarily halted due to the second wave of COVID-19 that began at the end of July. — VNS