Nguyễn Thị Lệ Thanh. Photo vov.vn
As a top destination in Việt Nam, Khánh Hoà Province has been actively promoting the recovery of the country's tourism. Nguyễn Thị Lệ Thanh, Director of Khánh Hoà Province’s Department of Tourism talks to Voice of Vietnam online newspaper about the locality’s tourism development plan in 2022 and beyond.
How has Khánh Hoà Province prepared for full reopening on March 15? Have travel agents, owners of hotels, transportation services, restaurants, entertainment centres recovered and ready for business?
The initiative to welcome domestic tourists from October 1, 2021 and international tourists from November 2021 has helped Khánh Hoà tourism industry recover at a fast pace. In the last three months of 2021, the number of tourists coming to Khánh Hòa reached nearly 122,000, including nearly 4,600 international visitors. Tourism revenue reached more than VNĐ450 billion, contributing to promoting the recovery and development of other sectors and fields of the province.
The province welcomed more than 37,500 visitors during the New Year holiday. During the Lunar New Year, we had about 98,600 visitors (including 95,600 domestic visitors, 3,000 international visitors); room capacity of hotels reached more than 72 per cent and the total tourism revenue was about VNĐ524.3 billion.
Since the Government allowed the pilot implementation of receiving international tourists to five localities, including Khánh Hòa in early November 2021, as of February 22, 2022, the province has received 48 flights with more than 10,000 international tourists from countries such as Russia, Korea, Japan, and Malaysia, accounting for the majority of international tourists with vaccine passports to Việt Nam during this period.
Most international visitors expressed satisfaction with the quality of products and services provided and were confident in solutions to prevent and control the pandemic as well as measures to ensure safety for visitors during their stay.
Most of the tourism businesses in the province such as hotels, travel, transportation, restaurants, and entertainment venues have reopened.
Are there any possibilities that Khánh Hoà Province could become overloaded as the peak tourist season approaches?
Currently, out of a total of about 52,000 rooms in Khánh Hoà, more than 40,000 rooms have been ready to welcome guests, mainly in the 3- to 5-star segment; only a few 1-2 star establishments are not open yet. Before opening, these 3-5 star hotels have met the standards of personnel and services.
Khánh Hòa tourism industry has a great service capacity. In 2019 it welcomed seven million visitors. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic until now, the number of rooms in Khánh Hòa continues to increase. Tourism businesses do not worry about overloading and expect visitors to choose Khánh Hòa for their upcoming trips.
Although it is forecast that the number of visitors will not increase massively in the near future, Khánh Hoà tourism industry is still preparing options based on our analysis of data reported by businesses. We always update the number of visitors from travel agencies and accommodation facilities to have a plan to regulate and ensure safety.
If the tourism sector reopens too quickly, it will be difficult to avoid shortcomings. What measures will the province’s Tourism Department deploy to ensure the friendly image of Khánh Hoà tourism?
For many years, Nha Trang - Khánh Hòa tourism has always been associated with the message of a safe, quality, attractive and friendly destination. However, besides efforts to restore the local tourism industry, sometimes there are still some cases that adversely affect the image and brand of the province’s tourism industry. We always want to be able to serve visitors to the best we can and keep tourists coming back. Therefore, the tourism industry has long taken many timely measures to support tourists and keep the local tourism environment clean and civilised.
In the near future, we will step up promotion, publicity and tourism stimulus with the slogan "Touch the heart", with the determination to serve from the heart and touch the hearts of visitors, make them remember their time here for a long time and come back to Khánh Hòa.
When visitors need support with information, suggestions or complaints, they can call the hotline *2258 of the Tourist Support Centre (under the Khánh Hòa Department of Tourism).
After a long pause, many businesses had difficulty reopening, their facilities were degraded, and their personnel had moved on. How have the province authorities supported them?
Right from the stage of opening domestic tourism in October 2021 to the pilot programme of receiving international tourists in November 2021, Khánh Hòa tourism industry has organised inspection teams to guide businesses to welcome guests safely and effectively.
In general, tourist facilities that have been allowed to reopen must meet the standards of pandemic prevention and service quality. Businesses themselves have also actively invested, and prepared very well to ensure their reputation.
We have made adjustments to the inspection plan in line with reality in order to limit and reduce inspections that are not really necessary and changed the method from pre-inspection to post-inspection to remove difficulties for businesses.
Khánh Hòa Tourism Department has also given detailed instructions for businesses to easily obtain information. We will continue to carry out regular and irregular checks, handling problems as soon as they arise.
Currently, there are still a number of businesses facing difficulties, especially accommodation establishments lacking resources and have not been able to reopen. Many businesses are still in the market research phase and have not fully opened. If there are not enough customers, reopening would mean extra spending. But when the market returns to operation and tourists gradually fill up accommodation and service establishments, businesses will have strategies to restore business operations.
Is Khánh Hòa tourism sector confident in achieving its goals for 2022?
If the market continues to prosper and be stable like at the beginning of 2022, we are confident that we would achieve the set target of welcoming more than 1.2 million visitors, including 1,160,000 domestic, and 40,000 internationals. We aim at reaching the tourism revenue of VNĐ4 trillion, an increase of 80 per cent compared to 2021.
In 2022, the domestic tourist market will play a key role in the recovery of Khánh Hòa's tourism industry. Therefore, Khánh Hòa will strengthen the implementation of communication activities, promotion, and stimulus to attract tourists.
Regarding international visitors, we will focus on key markets with a large number of visitors to Khánh Hòa in recent years such as Russia, Korea, China, Malaysia, and India. VNS