by Lê Hương
HÀ NỘI — Experts shared opinions in marking out new directions to recover the tourism sector, which has been seriously hurt by the pandemic, at a forum held in the capital on April 1.
The forum, part of the ongoing Việt Nam International Travel Mart (VITM), gathered officials and experts from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, Ministry of Planning and Investment several universities.
Addressing the forum, Deputy Culture Minister Đoàn Văn Việt said after the pandemic, the tourism sector needed to recover technical facilities, tourism products and human resources, which required effort, time and investment from the whole industry.
"This is a mission and a huge challenge to the sector in the upcoming months," he said.
The minister asked speakers to clarify ideas for the sector, such as policies, investment, products and markets, and how to mobilise capital and develop human resources.
"State policies should aim to solve what problems or which product genres should be the main ones to lure international visitors to return," he said.
Foreign visitors in downtown Hà Nội. The capital received nearly 3 million visitors in the first quarter of this year. — VNA/VNS Photo
"The culture ministry is willing to receive concrete opinions and feasible suggestions to focus on new directions and actions to recover and develop the sector most quickly and effectively for tourism to return to normal."
He confirmed that the ministry would support localities and enterprises in the mission to turn the sector into the key economic sector following Resolution No 08-NQ/TW of the Politburo.
The general director of the VNAT Nguyễn Trùng Khánh stressed five orientations for recovery tourism.
The first involves the market target.
"We should exploit well traditional markets, markets where airlines resumed and have favourable visa policies like those before the pandemic [in 2019]," he said.
The second point focuses on green products, ecological tourism, community tourism, relaxation tourism and healthcare tourism.
The third pillar, according to the official, is effective marketing.
"We should push up e-marketing to maximise the effectiveness for tourism recovery and development," he said.
He also stressed digital transformation after the pandemic and noted that developing human resources was a key task for recovery.
"Enterprises should enhance recruitment, training and re-training labour," he said. "Workers in the field should be trained in special skills and know-how to use technological devices. Auto machines should be used at most for serving guests. Enterprises and localities should have favourable policies for high-quality and specialised workers."
Khánh said the staycation trend and travelling in small groups had been popular since the beginning of the pandemic and would continue in 2022.
According to Vũ Thế Bình, chairman of the Việt Nam Tourism Association, recovery in the sector was not only an urgent demand for over 40,000 enterprises and over 2 million workers in the field but also for millions of ordinary people and thousands of service providers throughout the country.
"The sector should change from ideology to action, which is a complicated task involving the whole sector," he said.
Đậu Anh Tuấn, Head of the Legal Department of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VCCI), complained that existing favourable policies supporting tourism enterprises had only affected tourism workers and guides, while the sector needed more support like tax exemption policies.
Tuấn also suggested more open visa policies for more countries, and the staying time permitted should be longer than 30 days.
Nguyễn Thị Cúc, Chairperson of the Tax Consultants' Association, said the State should issue tax refund policies for foreigners at shops when they buy goods in Việt Nam.
According to Chairman of Đà Nẵng Tourism Association Cao Trí Dũng, enterprises should focus on the special demands of customers to build new tourism products, healthcare tours and MICE tours.
Nguyễn Công Hoan, deputy general director of Flamingo Group, suggested enterprises should not only think of long-term policies but also solve urgent problems like focusing on family relaxation and receiving international visitors from neighbouring countries first.
Chairman of Hà Nội Travel Agencies' Association and director of Hanoitourist Phùng Quang Thắng suggested each locality should highlight a unique product to lure visitors.
"Besides, to attract international guesses, the sector should organise family trips and press trips for international travel agencies and media.
At the same event, the culture ministry officially announced the establishment of a Tourism Development Supporting Fund.
Lê Tuấn Anh, chairman of the fund, said it would function as a limited one-member company with 100 per cent equity capital held by the State. The culture ministry administers the fund.
The budget will be funded by the central budget, which accounts for 10 per cent of the total sum submitted to the State budget from fees for visas and paper procedures involving immigration, and 5 per cent from money submitted to the State budget from entrance fees for tourism sites.
The fund can mobilise private sources from enterprises, individuals and organisations in and outside the country.
The fund will cover tasks like promoting tourism in and outside the country through events, media, training of human resources, and PR in the community. — VNS