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Coronavirus impact sends int’l tourist arrivals to Vietnam tumbling
The Saigon Times Daily
Wednesday,  Feb 12, 2020,15:21 (GMT+7)

Coronavirus impact sends int’l tourist arrivals to Vietnam tumbling

The Saigon Times Daily

Foreign tourists experience a community-based tourism activity in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province. Chinese tourists will not travel to Vietnam during the outbreak of the new virus – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Vietnam is forecast to welcome some 644,000 international tourists in the first quarter of the year, falling by roughly 800,000 arrivals compared with the previous quarter before the outbreak, the General Statistics Office (GSO) noted in a statement.

The country could lose some US$2.3 billion in turnover earned from international tourists’ spending this year if the outbreak continues to rage until the end of the quarter.

Chinese tourists will not travel to Vietnam during the outbreak of the new virus, which emerged in China in late 2019, while international arrivals from other countries are facing a downward trend as Vietnam shares a long border with China, stated the office.

In particular, the central coastal resort city of Nha Trang could be hit hardest as Chinese tourists accounted for over 70% of its international arrivals last year, according to data from the Statistics Department of Khanh Hoa Province.

Also, a series of meetings and other events have been postponed or canceled to prevent the transmission of the new virus, resulting in a decline in meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions tourism in major cities such as Hanoi and HCMC.

The country’s civil aviation sector has also suffered the fallout from the Chinese viral outbreak, said the GSO.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has revoked all permits granted for regular flights connecting Vietnam and China until further notice from the Vietnamese Government.

After the flight ban came into effect from February 1, the country recorded an average of 80 canceled flights between the two countries per day.

The road and railway transport sectors are also feeling the pressure. Fewer tourists have resulted in a decrease in the number of transport services, especially those supporting the aviation sector.

For tourism services to be improved in the long term, the GSO suggested extending closures of trading activities at border markets to avoid public gatherings that could encourage the spread of the disease.

Apart from that, local tourism authorities and enterprises should maintain the launch of promotion events in high-growth markets from 2019 as well as in potential ones, including Japan, South Korea, Russia and Australia. They should also set up Vietnam tourism promotion offices on a trial basis in source markets to attract more visitors.

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