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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Large-scale injection of Covid-19 vaccine expected to aid tourism

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HCMC – Despite positive news about Vietnam’s trial injection of a Covid-19 vaccine on people, foreign visitors are expected to return to Vietnam only once the vaccine is injected on a large scale, according to local travel firms.

Although some foreign partners have asked local tour operators about the prices of tours to Vietnam, when these tours will resume remains undecided. Some partners have even canceled next year’s tours.

Transtravel Company Deputy Director Nguyen Manh Ha said tours to Vietnam would be canceled for another six months, prolonging the cancelation period of these tours to 18 consecutive months.

The firm had earlier expected tours for French tourists to begin in September thanks to Vietnam’s effective control of Covid-19. However, the complicated developments of the pandemic across the world have dented the expectation.

The tourism sector had planned to introduce tours to safe destinations during the pandemic. However, after the new Covid-19 waves and Thailand’s unsuccessful models to welcome international tourists, the solution still remains on paper.

If many people are injected with the Covid-19 vaccine, it can help the resumption of international flights and tours, said Lux Group CEO Pham Ha.

International customers of the company are still postponing and canceling tours to Vietnam. However, when news about Vietnam’s Covid-19 vaccine was announced, some partners asked for the company’s tour prices in the second half of 2021 and early 2022.

Lux Group’s partners in the United Kingdom and Germany have booked tours at the end of 2021, but they will go on these tours once the vaccine is injected on a large scale and they are not quarantined when they enter the country.

Vietnam has some 2,700 enterprises that have been licensed to organize outbound tours but most of them have suspended their operations. A majority of their staff has yet to resume full-time work.

Tran Xuan Hung, chairman of Viking Travel Company, said despite its experience in the domestic tourism segment, his company is still finding it hard to return to normal, as low demand and fierce competition have cause multiple difficulties for the firm.

Many other firms are facing the same fate, sharing that both tours for Vietnamese and international tourists have been unsalable. A plan to attract foreigners to Vietnam to visit local destinations has remained ineffective.

The director of a travel company in HCMC’s District 1 said the company had been seeking customers since late March but received only a few bookings, explaining that its customers have also cut expenses due to the pandemic and the number of foreigners in Vietnam is dropping.

According to information disclosed at a recent conference of the HCMC Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, the number of foreigners in HCMC has halved to some 60,000 people and will continue falling in the coming periods.

As a result, some travel firms have to continue freezing their operations to reduce losses.

Nguyen Son Thuy, director of Indochina Unique Tourist, said his company had to fire more employees. It expected to welcome tourists at the end of this year but the plan has been delayed to June next year at the earliest.

In April, the company decided to temporarily suspend its operations to save costs but had still prepared a fund to pay the salaries of its employees until the end of the year. However, the fund has been exhausted.

By Dao Loan

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