Visitors to HCM City receive free masks to protect them from the spread coronavirus. VNA Photo
HCM CITY — The HCM City Department of Tourism has called on the government to set up an accommodation facility near Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport to house tourists suspected of having novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection.
A hotel with a dedicated entrance and exit near the airport is ideal for temporarily isolating tourists suspected to be infected, Bùi Tá Hoàng Vũ, the director of the department, said.
The department has surveyed the area and recommended a few to the city authorities, he told a meeting on Tuesday.
With the number of cases of coronavirus mounting, the department has ordered travel firms to cancel all group tours and tour packages to and from China, he said.
But tourist attractions and entertainment sites in the city are operating normally, he added.
Võ Thị Ngọc Thúy, deputy director of the department, said the coronavirus outbreak has already caused major shocks to global travel and tourism, and HCM City is no exception.
During the nine-day Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays, the number of tourist arrivals in the city decreased by 12 per cent compared to last year, she said.
The city tourism industry has been directly affected by the epidemic due to a decline in visitor arrivals, especially from China, she said.
Many popular attractions in the city such as the Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral have seen a drop of 30-50 per cent in the number of visitors, she said.
“For now combating the spread of the coronavirus is the main task for all sectors.”
It is vital to make the city safe for tourists, she pointed out.
The department has instructed hotels and other accommodation facilities to record and provide information about guests to enable preventive measures and to arrange for anti-viral hand substance and face masks for guests and staff, she said.
It has also instructed them to work with local healthcare facilities to isolate people suspected of having the infection, she added. — VNS