A view of Hạ Long Bay, a famous tourism site in Việt Nam. The country's tourism industry is estimated to have losses of US$7.7 billion due to the pandemic. — Photo baovanhoa.vn
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced plans to quickly restart the tourism market as soon as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ends.
Accordingly, when Việt Nam announces the pandemic ending in Việt Nam, the ministry will focus on stimulating the domestic tourism market and coordinating with airlines, transport and travel firms to exempt or reduce service fees, including air tickets, accommodation costs and visiting fees.
The ministry will also implement the "Safe Vietnam Tourism" programme and a domestic tourism stimulus programme with the cooperation of localities, transport and travel companies.
It has also proposed the Government to develop consumer stimulus packages for the tourism sector, including encouraging domestic consumers to use tourism services. Meanwhile, the tourism industry will focus on the business travel segment. The industry will build a smart tourism operation centre to digitise the tourism industry during and after the pandemic.
When other Asian countries announce the pandemic as ending, Việt Nam will launch a communication campaign "Vietnam NOW - Safety and Smiling" – a tourism stimulus programme with preferential packages for domestic and Asian tourists.
The industry will restructure the international tourist markets to Việt Nam and focus on promoting travel to countries without the pandemic, especially for business travel.
It has also proposed the Government to consider policies to create favourable conditions for tourists to Việt Nam, including visa exemptions or visa fee reductions, increasing flights and opening new routes to foreign countries.
When the pandemic is under control worldwide, promotional programmes and stimulus packages will be launched for both domestic and international tourists. The industry will apply IT for advertising, communications and development of new tourism products.
However, to implement those scenarios, the industry needs practical solutions to help businesses overcome difficulties at present, according to the ministry.
The ministry has proposed that home-stay owners, small and medium-sized businesses and laid-off tourism workers would be entitled to benefit from the VNĐ62 trillion (US$2.66 billion) financial package.
The businesses and workers in the tourism industry should have payment deadlines for social insurance extended.
Deputy General Director of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Ngô Hoài Chung told the Hà Nội Mới (new Hà Nội) newspaper that if the pandemic is under control in May, the domestic tourism industry could recover by the end of this year.
Right after the pandemic ends in Việt Nam, the tourism industry will focus on stimulating the domestic tourism market, including exemptions or reductions of service fees. At the same time, it will continue promotion of Việt Nam's image as a safe and attractive tourism destination, Chung said.
To help tourism businesses to recover after the pandemic, the ministry has suggested the Government develop a 12-18 month financial package supporting tourism businesses and workers.
At the same time, it has also requested exemption of fees for new issuance, replacement and re-issuance of international and domestic travel business licenses and tourist guide cards this year.
VNAT reported Việt Nam’s tourism industry is estimated to have losses of US$7.7 billion due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of international tourists to Hà Nội in April decreased by 98.1 per cent over the same period last year. The pandemic has caused much of the tourism industry to suspend operations and many workers to lose their jobs.
The current difficulties have forced travel companies to reform operations, including restructuring foreign tourism markets avoiding dependence on traditional markets such as China and South Korea. They included big travel companies such as Saigontourist, Hanoitourist, Vietravel and Hanoi Redtour.
In addition, the companies have strengthened human resources and built tourism stimulus products to prepare for the recovery of business after the pandemic, according to the VNAT.
Director of the Hà Nội Department of Tourism, Trần Đức Hải said Hà Nội will have tourism products relating to relics, festivals, trade villages, and cuisine in the capital city. The department will enhance the application of IT in advertising tourism products in Hà Nội. — VNS