|The War Remnants Museum is expected to offer free entrance from August until the end of this year. — File photo courtesy of the museum
HCM CITY — The HCM City Department of Tourism has proposed that the municipal People’s Committee provide tourism businesses access to a non-interest loan package of VNĐ208 billion (US$9.06 million).
The loans will help tourism companies pay at least 50 per cent of their employees' salaries for three months. The loans are expected to cover about 31,500 employees working in 5,002 tourism businesses in the city.
The city-funded loan package will be handled by the Việt Nam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) – HCM City branch.
Vietravel chairman Nguyễn Quốc Kỳ told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that tourism businesses were currently making very little or no profit.
He estimated that tens of thousands of tourism employees have lost or quit their jobs due to the serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Vietravel had nearly 1,500 employees, but now has only 50 people to maintain the company’s operation.
Apart from the loan package, the department has proposed that the People’s Committee support training expenses for tourism personnel this year. The training expense of VNĐ1.2 billion ($52,295) includes VNĐ1 billion from the city budget and VNĐ200 million from other sources.
The money will be used for 20 training courses for tour guides, and managers and staff working for tourism-service providers, food and beverage businesses, and hotels.
The department also suggested free entrance fees at the city’s main attractions from August until the end of 2021. The attractions include the War Remnants Museum, the Việt Nam History Museum in HCM City, the HCM City Museum, the HCM City Fine Arts Museum, and the Củ Chi Tunnels Relic Site.
In order to offset losses in ticket sales, the city was also asked to provide VNĐ21 billion ($915,168) to pay for salaries and expenses at these five attractions.
According to the Tourism Department, the total number of domestic travelers to the city in the first five months of this year was 7.1 million, up 11.4 per cent year on year. The city, however, has had no international tourists this year because of COVID-related travel restrictions.
Total tourism revenue during the period was estimated at VNĐ35.58 trillion (US$1.55 billion), an increase of 23.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.
The number of tourism businesses operating in the city dropped by 50 per cent in the first five months, while 171 businesses had their licenses revoked. — VNS