The global and national economies have been suffering serious economic consequences as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is continuing spreading far and wide.
In the context of the awkward situation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently announced that the government will intensify measures in an attempt to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease among the wider community.
One method used to combat the virus will be by temporarily halting the process of issuing visas for foreign visitors for a period of 30 days, starting from 0:00 on March 18.
According to economic experts, the aviation industry will be one of the sectors which will be hardest hit by the pandemic, with the suspension of visas for foreign arrivals undoubtedly set to have a strong impact on the operations of Vietnamese airlines.
Despite the economic consequences, the Vietnamese government’s decision must be considered a necessary action to take, especially following the declaration by the World Health Organization that the COVID-19 is a global pandemic.
Economic expert Ngo Tri Long expressed his opinion that the COVID-19 epidemic has currently spread to 120 countries worldwide, leading to travel and trade restrictions being imposed in nations across the globe.
With developed countries deciding to place restrictions on their borders, Vietnam has made moves to follow this trend for the sake of protecting its citizens.
Vietnam's primary tasks are to fight against the epidemic whilst simultaneously developing the national economy. The country should be prepared to sacrifice immediate economic growth in order to protect the health of local people whilst avoiding unnecessary losses of life caused by the epidemic, he noted.
Economic fallout appears inevitable
According to Dr. Le Dang Doanh, the temporary suspension of visas for foreigners entering the country will have a hugely negative short-term effect on the national aviation industry, ultimately leading to a knock-on effect to other sectors such as tourism, restaurants, hotels, and souvenir shops.
Dr Doanh pointed out that entering an economic recession is inevitable, with the epidemic set to cause great damage to local airlines, which have already suffered heavy losses before the decision to suspend visa applications for foreigners was made.
The International Air Transport Association predicts that the revenue of airlines throughout the world will fall between US$63-113 billion over the course of the year due to the epidemic.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism representative said that the COVID-19 outbreak is expected to cause significant damage to the country’s tourism industry, especially as a result of the sharp decline in the number of Chinese tourists, which holds for over 30% of the total number of international travelers.
Indeed, tourism is poised to be one of the industries most affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, with many tourist sites and places of interest being forced to shut down in order to ensure the safety of visitors.