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Owners of idle tourist boats in Halong Bay seek PM’s help

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HCMC – Owners of more than 500 tourist boats in Halong Bay in Quang Ninh Province are on the verge of bankruptcy as their tourist boats have been lying idle for over a year due to Covid-19, so they have turned to the prime minister for help.

The Halong Cruise Boat Branch on June 14 stated that the four Covid-19 waves had hit the incomes of these enterprises, while tourist boat owners had to keep paying employees on a monthly basis for managing the tourist boats, fees for mooring boats at wharves and insurance premiums for employees, Thanh Nien Online newspaper reported.

Therefore, they proposed the Government ask banks to reschedule debts by one to five years after the World Health Organization announces the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Doan Van Dung, general director of Indochina Junk JSC, said over the past year, the company had served almost no customers due to the pandemic. The firm expected the State agencies to extend the debt payment deadlines and reduce loan interest rates.

Nguyen Van Phuong, deputy head of the Halong Cruise Boat Branch, shared the view, saying that most enterprises had taken bank loans to build boats. They had to service the loans while they earned no revenue over the past year.

According to the Quang Ninh government, since early this year, only 2.37 million tourists have visited the province, plunging 43.5% over the same period last year. In addition, tourism revenue plummeted 39%.

Although the province has launched multiple promotion programs, the recurrent Covid-19 waves have led to a market freeze.

At present, the province serves only provincial tourists. The Department of Tourism is working on plans to welcome healthy tourists from elsewhere and encourage the development of all-in tours including Covid-19 tests.

A representative of the department said besides reducing fees and exempting visitors from paying entrance fees to Halong Bay, a plan to offer free entrance to the Yen Tu tourist site until the end of this year was also being drafted.

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