For HCMC, the delicious cake slice of evening economy in store for years will come to light as the Government is going to give it the greenlight soon. Decision 1129/QD-TTg, effective as of July 27, 2020, is a turning point which is expected to make evening economy thrive. The bans on business activities after midnight will be removed. Yet it also needs the momentum generated altogether by the state apparatus, communities and the business circle.
Decision 1129 has put night-time economy in its deserving position by giving clear road maps and goals. The decision aims to exploit economic potential of evening economy to make full use of economic opportunities, and improve the people’s income and living standards. At the same time, efforts must be made to minimize adverse effects on political security as well as social order and safety.
Bans on business activities after midnight will be lifted in many localities. HCMC, Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Haiphong, Danang, Hoi An, Thua Thien-Hue, Can Tho, Dalat and Phu Quoc will become the first tourist destinations to put into motion a pilot scheme for evening economy which is effective until 6 o’ clock in the morning.
Evening economy is a project that needs preparations and evaluation from different angles. Decision 1129 has offered a road map for implementing basic steps. It has also addressed every issue and assigned clear responsibility to specific industries and ministries. The deadline for completion is the fourth quarter of 2021. Obstacles concerning the limit of the time for doing evening business will be reviewed in line with the road map by the second quarter of 2021. Meanwhile, tax incentives applicable to nigh-time economy will be studied and reported in the second quarter of 2021.
As presented in the decision, economic development aside, security and safety will be ensured by the pilot scheme for setting up in the second quarter of 2021 the tourist police in several locations in order to handle issues relevant to security and safety of tourists.
The timetable is clear and the duties have been assigned to each agency involved as well as provincial/municipal authorities. In the context of the economic slump in 2020, cities and provinces in Vietnam whose income depends largely on tourism cannot revive their economic situation if the old way of doing business is maintained.
Cities will be allowed to fully reopen their doors to tourists. However, whether they will be successful remains an open question. It is obvious that the existing services have to find ways to renovate themselves to thrive again in the coming time. This is also a time for the Government to look inside and build a new economic blueprint: evening economy.
In this blueprint, municipal/provincial authorities will play many key roles, such as establishing and implementing programs/plans as well as other measures for boosting evening economy. Local governments are also expected to come up with proposals for evening economy development to be submitted to the competent authorities.
That evening economy is not successful everywhere is a known fact. However, it provides provincial/municipal governments with an opportunity to further bolster their economy after the pandemic and look at long-term economic future.
Service providers which have to halt their business during the time of Covid-19 and are seeking new business forms may find the decision on night-time economy a cue for a way out.
Should enterprises wait for the pandemic to end to restart their business or should they have to live with the coronavirus? If the second choice is made, they need to come up with new services to sell to the market. This is also a time for enterprises to do market research and develop new services.
When it comes to the hospitality industry, after Vietnam has been recognized as a safe destination in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the revival of the tourism market may materialize. This move can be preceded by boosting product development and bringing into full play idle labor.
In line with this, each tour guide should be a product researcher. They are those who best know the strengths and weaknesses of a tourism product or service.
Normally, they are too busy with daily chores. Now they have time to ponder over these issues. Now it’s time to engage them in the new races for new tourism conceptions and products. Certainly, it is tour guides who offers unique ideas in this regard.
Aside from new tourism products, other aspects should be taken into account, too.
Security is one of the first things to consider for nightlife. Tourists will feel unsafe if they visit a place at night informed that some theft or violence has taken place there. In other words, tourists want their personal security and safety to be guaranteed throughout their trips in Vietnam.
Next, trash on the streets must be cleaned completely after sleepless nights. There have been occasions in which streets were flooded with rubbish after a night full of tourists. In this regard, evening economy should not infringe daytime economy.
Residents of the location of evening economic activities should also be taken into consideration. To many of these inhabitants, the place they are living in is also a venue for livelihood. These people are really part of the spirit of the local evening economy. Therefore, they should be instructed about how to become a good part of the evening economy so that they can leave overriding impressions on visitors. Lifestyles of local inhabitants and the way they behave, if well cultured, will become a kind of special tourism products attractive to tourists.
What evening economy in Vietnam will be like? This question represents a wish in Vietnam when local entrepreneurs look at the world’s bustling sleepless cities.
At present, policies on night-time economy is already available. What needs to be done is state agencies, enterprises and communities work together to bring them to life. Whether Vietnam’s scheme for night-time economy will be successful depends on how we adhere to its initial target: economic development must also ensure social security and order.
By Phan Thi Ngoc Thang