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Vietnam expected to lose nearly 14 million international arrivals

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HCMC – The nation is forecast to lose from 13.5 to 14 million tourists this year compared with 2019, though the Government has resumed some international flights to help sustain economic activities.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the recovery of Vietnam’s tourism sector will take place in four stages.

First, local firms will focus on the domestic market, before piloting receiving some foreign tourist groups at locations with favorable Covid-19 prevention conditions. Next, Vietnam will be open to markets, which have brought the disease under control, and the last phase will be the total recovery of the foreign tourist segment.

Currently, the Government has approved the resumption of some international commercial flights, prioritizing experts, investors, foreign skilled workers and Vietnamese who need to return to the country. As local firms have yet to welcome foreign tourists, the recovery process of the sector has just begun.

The domestic segment is expected to fare better since the last quarter if the disease is brought well under control, VNAT said in a recent annual report.

Local firms have begun the second demand stimulus program, concentrating on safety to encourage citizens to travel again. According to industry insiders, businesses must stay prudent, as the market may not stage a booming rise as it did during the first stimulus program.

Speaking at a seminar last week, Vu The Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said that enterprises should provide new and good quality products for the second stimulus package. Along with affordable prices, these factors will help them lure vacationers, but it is impossible to see a strong rise as was the case during the first program.

In addition, the recovery time for the international segment is unpredictable. However, if the country is open to foreigners in the last quarter, just around 4 to 4.5 million holidaymakers may arrive, down around 13.5 to 15 million compared with last year.

Many businesses are expecting the Government to allow them to receive foreign visitors soon, but they think that international travelers will not visit until early or the middle of 2021.

According to the General Statistics Office, the number of international arrivals tumbled 66.6%, or 7.5 million, to over 3.7 million in the January-August period this year.

Meanwhile, data from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism showed that tourism transport firms have mostly shut down. Around 95% of travel companies have ceased operations, in which 10% have applied to stop their businesses.

For the accommodation segment, hotels and resorts in Hanoi and HCMC have reported an occupancy rate of 10%, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Binh Dinh and Quang Ninh from 3-5% and the remaining localities between 0% and 20%.

Further, enterprises may face a post-Covid challenge due to the shortage of high-quality manpower. Therefore, they must spend more time and money on training.

By Dao Loan

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