Tourism Expected to Gather Steam in Q2
The National Tourism Administration of Vietnam reports that more than 6 million Vietnamese people chose to travel to domestic destinations during the recent nine-day Lunar New Year holiday, VOV reported.
Statistics from local agencies indicate that the island city of Phu Quoc in Kien Giang province welcomed more than 120,000 visitors, while Khanh Hoa served approximately 98,000 holidaymakers.
This represents a good signal for the tourism sector as it offers the prospect for a positive recovery in the year ahead.
|Foreign tourists with a hotel guide (R) in Hoi An, March 18, 2020. Photo: VNE|
Tran Doan The Duy, general director of Vietravel, says that the Government has moved to ease travel restrictions after adopting a strategy of living safely alongside the pandemic late last year, thereby creating conditions for tourism services to get back on track.
Along with traditional and package tours, Vietravel anticipates a new trend in the sector and has therefore started offering combos of air ticket and hotel room or car rental. It will also provide retail services and changes in distribution channels, thereby offering online services to better suit customers during the pandemic period.
Mauro Gasparotti, director of Savills Hotels Asia - Pacific, says the tourism sector continues to show positive signs of recovery, noting that there is high demand for travel among people after months of restrictions due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to the country’s high vaccination coverage, individual and family tours will recover first, while group tours will require more time to return to pre-pandemic levels, says Gasparotti.
In terms of international tourism, Tran Doan The Duy, CEO of Vietravel, believes that inbound and outbound tours are starting to show some initial signs of recovery, although they need more time to pick up steam.
Vietnam has attracted approximately 150,000 foreign travellers under a pilot scheme aimed at welcoming back foreign travelers with vaccine passports which started in mid-November 2021.
In addition, the recent decision made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to reopen all international air routes starting on February 15 is expected to support the tourism sector’s recovery efforts.
However, health quarantine and visa policies are major barriers to attracting foreign tourists to local destinations.
For instance, many foreign travelers hesitate to choose Vietnam as a destination as they are required to self-isolate at their places of residence for a period of three days.
Moreover, Vietnam has so far recognised vaccine passports of nearly 80 countries and territories, while only 14 countries have approved similar local documents.
In Southeast Asia alone, Singapore has yet to recognise the Vietnamese vaccine passport. The Republic of Korea, Japan, and China have also yet to fully open their door to tourism with Vietnam, according to the Vietravel CEO.
International tourism therefore requires more time to recover to pre-pandemic levels, says Duy.
To help the tourism sector get back on track, experts and leaders of various travel firms requested at a recent meeting that the Government move to relax health quarantine and visa policies to allow the country to keep up with the recovery trend and not lose out to rivals.
13 HCMC hotels allowed to host foreign tourists
Meanwhile, the Ho Chi Minh City tourism department on Friday announced a list of 13 hotels and six tourist attractions eligible to serve foreign tourists starting this month, according to VNE.
These include the Rex Hotel, Sheraton Saigon Hotel, InterCotinental Saigon Hotel, Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint, Liberty Central Saigon Center Riverside, Liberty Central Saigon Center, Vien Dong Hotel and Silverland Sakyo, all in District 1.
|Foreign tourists in front of the Central Post Office in downtown HCMC, February 2020. Photo: VNE|
Other hotels are Windsor Plaza Hotel and Equatorial Hotel in District 5, Novotel Saigon Center and Ramana Saigon in District 3, and Eastin Grand Saigon in Phu Nhuan District.
Six attractions allowed to welcome back foreign tourists are the Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ao dai Museum, Cu Chi Tunnels, Sac Forest Tourism Area and Saigon Skydeck Observatory in Bitexco Financial Tower.
The list will be effective until Vietnam fully reopens its tourism on March 15, by which time the tourism ministry is expected to issue new guidelines.
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