Phú Quốc Island on Kiên Giang Province is still attracting many visitors amid the COVID-19 epidemic. The country, as of late Tuesday afternoon, had no new case of the disease. Photo courtesy of nld.com.vn
HCM CITY As Việt Nam has been removed from the global list of potential destinations spreading COVID-19, domestic tourism is expected to witness growth after implementation of several stimulus programmes and sales promotions.
The number of Russian visitors to Việt Nam last month reached 19,000, according to Hoàng Thị Phong Thu, chairwoman of the board of Pegas Misr Travel Việt Nam.
In January, more than 18,540 Russian tourists visited Việt Nam, up 27.3 per cent year-on-year, and about 10,000 Russian guests have made travel bookings and reserved essential tourism services for April, May and June.
The international tourist group Pegas Touristik Russia is expected to welcome 184,000 Russian tourists to Việt Nam this year, Thu said.
Việt Nam Airlines has collaborated with the Vinpearl hotel system on a promotion for Russian visitors that takes effect this month.
About eight flights between Việt Nam and Russia have been scheduled weekly, connecting Moscow, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg to Nha Trang and Phú Quốc Island.
Meanwhile, Saigontourist Group has begun its first stimulus programme this year, starting from March to the end of May.
According to the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, the total number of international visitors in February was 1.24 million, down 37.7 per cent compared to the previous month and 21.8 per cent year-on-year.
Due to concern over the flu-like epidemic, few tourists from China, Singapore and South Korea did not travel to Việt Nam.
The occupancy rate of hotels across various tourist attractions from the north to the south decreased by 20 to 50 per cent year-on-year.
However, the US has removed Việt Nam from the list of countries with a high chance of spreading the disease, which is a positive sign for the tourism industry.
To promote Việt Nam’s safe environment, multiple travel agencies have uploaded videos and images of the country to their social media platforms.
Most importantly, the Tourism Department plans to carry out an international tourism campaign between April and December this year, with “VietnamNOW” as the main message.
Nguyễn Ngọc Toản, director of the Images Travel Company, stressed the importance of restructuring the tourism market and understanding audiences’ tastes to create meaningful products.
Trần Thế Dũng, deputy director of Thế Hệ Trẻ Tourism Company, said that thanks to timely stimulus polices in HCM City and provinces, "local tourists have been paying more attention to domestic tours".
Việt Nam Airlines has offered discounted tickets across 18 domestic routes to local tour operators, while Sài Gòn Railway Transportation Joint Stock Company has reduced its ticket from 70 to 90 per cent.
Việt Nam is expected to fully recover after three to four months if the epidemic is under control, according to authorities.
Many provinces are also trying to create more favourable conditions for travel agencies to thrive.
Meanwhile, favourable weather and better control of the epidemic has encouraged provinces in the Mekong Delta to carry out many tourism activities, particularly on Phú Quốc Island in Kiên Giang Province.
With its beautiful, sunny weather, destinations such as Nam Du, Thổ Châu, Phú Quốc and Hải Tặc in Kiên Giang Province have received an increasing number of visitors, according to Trần Chí Dũng, director of the provincial Department of Tourism
Nguyễn Khánh Hiệp, director of An Giang Province's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that travel agencies had tightened hygiene and disease prevention practices against COVID-19 and the quality of human resources had also improved.
In Cần Thơ, the city Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has sent a letter to its tourism partners, saying that Cần Thơ is a safe, friendly and quality travel destination, with all tourism spots open to welcome visitors.
Lê Minh Tùng, deputy head of the Management Board of Mũi Cà Mau National Tourist Area, said that all officials and staff in the area have "strictly followed official guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19".
‘Everyone has been wearing masks, using hand sanitisers frequently, and staying alert and informed about the epidemic,” he said.
In an effort to boost domestic tourism, similar practices have occurred in Đồng Tháp Province. VNS