|Visitors at Nguyễn Huệ Flower Street during the Tết (Lunar New Year) festival. VNA/VNS Photo|
HCM CITY — More independent trips, "free & easy" tours and guided small group tours will be high on travellers' agendas for 2021, the HCM City Department of Tourism has said.
Staycations and luxury leisure vacations have been popular this year, the department said in a report. Short-distance itineraries to the southeastern region and Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, following health and safety protocols, have been favoured by travellers.
Independent trips, including self-drive itineraries located near the city such as Vũng Tàu, Đà Lạt and Phan Thiết, saw a rise in visitors during the Tết holiday.
Lại Minh Duy, general director of TST Tourist, said domestic tours could be customised for each group or family, with socially-distanced and mask-wearing guidelines.
Many Tết tours had been delayed until the Reunification Day holiday on April 30, when COVID-19 outbreaks were expected to be contained by that time, Duy said.
Travellers scrambled to cancel trips and get refunds for tours during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday due to COVID-19 outbreaks in late January, just a few days ahead of Tết.
Around 500 customers cancelled Tết tours worth a total of VNĐ 6 billion (US$260,400) at leading travel firms in the city. Most of them required full refunds and refused to delay trips, firms said.
Travel demand during Tết was nearly at a standstill. During the holiday, popular tourist and entertainment sites in the city such as Đầm Sen Park, Suối Tiên Theme Park, Văn Thánh and Bình Quới tourist sites were closed to contain the spread of the virus.
Hotels in HCM City are now operating at occupancy rates of less than 10 per cent, according to the department. Many hotels prepared special F&B programmes and offered promotions to meet rising demand during the Tết season but were then affected by the new outbreaks.
As many as 29 hotels with a total of 2,053 rooms have been approved to serve as hotel quarantine areas, and four more, with a total of more than 440 rooms, are waiting for approval from city authorities. —VNS