|A corner of Sapa. Hotels, homestays, tour operators, and tourism destinations in Sa Pa will slash rates by 30 to 60% to boost tourism. (Photo: VNA)
According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam welcomed about 3.7 million foreign visitors in the first four months of 2020, primarily in January and February when international travel was still “normal”. The figure represents a decline of 37.8% against the same period last year.
The pandemic has seen the industry suffer huge losses. Vietnam earned VND775 trillion (US$34 billion) in revenue from tourism last year, but this year losses of US$24-29 billion are anticipated because of the disease, said Truong Nam Thang from the Swiss Sustainable Tourism Programme.
The decline in international arrivals is expected to continue in the months to come as Vietnam maintains an entry ban on foreigner visitors while many countries around the world continue to impose lockdowns and border closures. Many people, meanwhile, now have a fear of travelling.
“COVID-19 has given the tourism sector tremendous headaches, more than anything it has experienced before,” Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association Vu The Binh said. “Our response must therefore also be different.”
After social distancing was lifted in late April, many popular destinations around the country have reopened their doors to domestic visitors. Travel agents such as Fiditour, Vietravel, and HanoiRedtours as well as luxury hotels like JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay are offering big deals to heat up the market.
Local administrations have also joined businesses’ efforts to recover the tourism sector.
The People’s Committee of Sa Pa township in northern Lao Cai province has cooperated with the Sa Pa Tourism Association and the Fansipan Cable Car Service to kick off a tourism stimulus programme, the first of its kind, to help recover the local industry.
Hotels, homestays, tour operators, and tourism destinations in Sa Pa will slash rates by 30 to 60%. The Sun World Fansipan Legend resort is offering a discount of up to 60% on Fansipan cable car tickets to travellers from six north-western provinces - Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Son La, Dien Bien, Yen Bai, and Hoa Binh.
Other cities and provinces such as Binh Duong, Quang Ninh, Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Son La, and Da Nang have been developing similar packages.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also plans to launch a nationwide programme encouraging Vietnamese to travel around the country.
Running from June 1 to December 31, the “Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam” programme aims to promote domestic destinations and tourism products, engaging all stakeholders in the sector, from local administrations, tourism associations, and tour operators to hospitality businesses and airlines.
Many localities are thirsty for tourists at the moment, Binh told a virtual national conference seeking ways to revive the sector last week. “It is quite competitive, as if one locality does not perform well then visitors will turn to others,” he said.
He also stressed the necessity for all stakeholders to take part in the effort.