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Travel firms adapt to Covid-19 pandemic

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HCMC – The second outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced local travel enterprises to change their mindset by setting up business plans adaptable to unfavorable scenarios instead of waiting for a medicine or vaccine that can cure the disease.

Many enterprises have introduced demand stimulus programs following the new strategy, considering price and safety as the most important factors, followed by attractive products and services.

Speaking at a seminar held by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism on Thursday, Vu The Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said many firms in the tourism industry failed to predict the impact of the pandemic although they had gone through several crises such as the SARS epidemic in 2003 and the global economic slowdown in 2009.

The pandemic has yet to show signs of subsiding, having battered the world for over eight months. In Vietnam, the first demand stimulus program was a great success, with the number of domestic tourists reaching a record growth. However, it then tumbled to a new low once the second outbreak hit central Danang City.

Currently, the situation has been brought under control but the new demand stimulus program will see little effect if the pandemic breaks out yet again in November or December.

“We have to think about long-term solutions to deal with all possible scenarios, such as living with the pandemic,” said Binh.

Speaking to The Saigon Times, many enterprises shared the same opinion.

Nguyen Ngoc Toan, director of Images Travel, said the economy will sink deeply into a recession if travel measures continue to be tightened.

At present, some European countries have decided to live with the pandemic. The economy and the tourism sector can stage a recovery only if governments accept changes and explain the situation to their citizens, he said.

Addressing the seminar, a representative from low-cost carrier VietJet said that similar pandemics may occur in the future. Therefore, to adapt to and operate smoothly in this context, localities should provide guidelines and apply infection prevention measures to ensure safety for travelers.

During the previous demand stimulus program, enterprises cut prices sharply to lure vacationers. Consequently, they failed to improve their financial situation despite the soaring number of travelers.

After the second outbreak, tourists remained anxious about the risks of traveling, prompting enterprises to design new products and services instead of offering big discounts like before.
“In August, we lost nearly one million arrivals. We slashed prices to the lowest rate. To attract tourists again after the second wave of the pandemic, the first thing is to make them understand that it is a safe time to travel,” said Tran Thi Nguyen, sales director of Sun World under Sun Group.

Most businesses at the event introduced the infection prevention measures applied at their restaurants, hotels and resorts to make customers feel safe.

By Dao Loan

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