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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Local companies see Covid-19 drive four million tourists away

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HCMC – A recent business report estimated that the coronavirus pandemic has scared away four million visitors, and as a result, some 90% of the HCMC-based travel companies had to suspend their operations, while 90% of employees from three-to-five star hotels had to opt for unpaid leave.

In Hanoi, 764 hotels have shut their doors and the room occupancy of three-to-five star hotels has been only 8%.

These numbers indicate how the novel coronavirus outbreak has greatly affected the tourism industry. Now, businesses are looking for practical solutions.

At an online meeting, which saw the participation of representatives from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and businesses on July 8, the business owners said they could not manage by themselves anymore and needed the support of the Government.

Accordingly, in Hanoi, tourist arrivals decreased by 75-80% since the pandemic broke out once again in Vietnam two weeks ago, while some 28,000 employees had to stop working. In the beginning of July, Quang Ninh Province attracted 100,000 visitors, but from July 26 to August 6, there were only 1,000 tourists left.

Meanwhile, VietJet Air’s flights have decreased by 70-75%. Sun World, a member of Sun Group, lost three million guests, equivalent to VND1,000 billion, in the past six months. It is expected to lose an additional one million visitors in August.

“Businesses have run out of money. They need financial support,” noted Vo Anh Tai, Deputy General Director of Saigontourist Group.

He suggested that the tourism administration body raise its voice to help businesses and workers overcome difficulties, focusing on financial and taxation solutions.

“How to survive is of utmost importance at present,” noted Phan Xuan Thanh, Chairman of the Quang Nam Tourism Association, adding, “We need money to continue to run our companies. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism needs to urge the Government to introduce interest-free loans so we can pay salaries to our staff.”

At the meeting, some businesses believed that the disease is being well controlled and tourism would recover quickly. Lessons from the previous stimulation campaign showed that the domestic market demand is large. So, the market would soon recover if the industry is well prepared during the current period.

For instance, in the past three months, VietJet Air reported a robust growth against the peak period during the Tet holidays thanks to big promotions. The private airline is preparing for another stimulus package at very good prices.

Vu The Binh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, also shared the same view, stating that the most important thing now was to keep businesses alive and wait for the market to recover.

A representative from Vietnam Airlines also spoke about the second stimulus campaign. Vietnamese people will travel again once the Covid-19 outbreak is controlled, so the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism should prepare its publicity strategy to attract customers.

As for tour cancellations and delays, Nguyen Thi Khanh, Vice chairwoman of the HCMC Tourism Association, said over 30 localities nationwide have supported travel companies in HCMC by refunding deposits.

By Dao Loan

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