Vietnam tourism forum seeks to attract more visitors
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The Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) and the Hanoi Tourism Department will jointly hold a national forum on tourism in April in the capital to discuss how to draw tourists in the future.
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“While waiting for the opening of doors to international tourists, the tourism sector this year will focus on the domestic market,” said VITA Vice Chairman Vu The Binh.
“The forum will gather tourism enterprises and localities throughout the nation to connect and discuss ways to develop domestic tourism," he added.
He said some localities have used promotions to try to win customers but in early 2021, a third of domestic travel agencies no longer wanted to exploit international routes and 90 percent of tourism enterprises stopped or reduced their operation scale.
“The tourism sector has run out of power to promote tourism,” he said.
Binh explained that the forum will offer a chance for participants to connect services and create new products to lure visitors.
After the forum, the annual Vietnam International Travel Mart will be held between May 5 and 8.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, demand for searching information on domestic destinations has sharply increased recently, especially as Vietnam basically controlled the COVID-19 pandemic. Domestic travel activities have resumed in almost all provinces and cities nationwide.
Though demand for airline information from domestic tourists has not increased much recently according to statistics from the Destination Insights tool by Google, searches for short trips in nearby destinations rose markedly in March.
Vietnam needs to open borders to for tourism recovery, experts said
Vietnam needs to research solutions and prepare all necessary conditions to open border for foreign tourists from July 2021, according to Nguyen Huu Tho, chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association.
About 95 per cent of domestic tour operators providing tours for foreign visitors had to stop operating since the beginning of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of hotels were closed and millions of workers in the tourism industry were put out of work. Therefore, the tourism industry needs new solutions to overcome the current crisis, according to Hanoitimes.
Opening borders to foreign tourists is the only solution to recover the tourism sector that contributed 9.2 per cent of total GDP in 2019.
The effective control of COVID-19 is an advantage for the domestic tourism industry to be able to welcome foreign tourists from the beginning of the third quarter of 2021. Now, regional countries with developed tourism sectors have plans to open borders to welcome back international visitors, reported the Vietnam Investment Review.
Specifically, Thailand has announced it would reopen the tourism market for foreign visitors from July 2021, Singapore welcomes international visitors who have negative COVID-19 test certificates and Indonesia will open its doors to Bali. Meanwhile, the European Union is planning to provide a "vaccine passport" to help people travel freely. This also helps the tourism and aviation industries resume operations, according to Tho.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, deputy director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said the administration is studying a plan to reopen the tourism market for international visitors.
Vietnam cannot receive massive numbers of foreign tourists, but it cannot be slow due to competition from other regional countries. The domestic travel companies can choose key markets with high demand visiting Vietnam, build tour packages and choose a convenient airport destination and an independent resort to receive the international visitors, Huong said.
Many localities want to welcome international and domestic tourists but they are afraid of the pandemic, so they do not dare do that, she said.
Many foreigners are beginning to think about finding an attractive tourism destination after getting vaccinated. That is a good opportunity for Vietnam to recover plans on economic development, including tourism and aviation sectors. It should not wait for the pandemic to end to plan re-opening its tourism market for foreign visitors. It needs to have this plan now for vaccinated visitors.
In the first days of March, a lot of travel agencies in HCM City welcomed guests on tours. Some companies also have departures after the Lunar New Year.
Other companies also welcomed many groups of tourists in HCM City and to neighbouring provinces such as Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Most travel companies hope that the tourism market will recover in the second quarter of 2021.
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