|The Hanoi Opera House in downtown area looks forlorn with much fewer vehicles March 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Kieu Duong.
City Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung recently asked the Department of Tourism to negotiate with CNN about a temporary halt to all tourism promotion on the global news channel from now until September to cut costs.
Chung told a meeting the most important task is to mobilize all resources towards combating the COVID-19 pandemic as the capital experiences the country’s highest number of infections. Hanoi has recorded 111 coronavirus cases, with 38 discharged from hospital thus far.
Last year, the capital city signed a US$4-million tourism promotion deal with CNN for the 2019-2024 period. In the same year, CNN aired 15 short films on Hanoi attractions across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South Asia.
All popular tourist destinations in the country have been closed since mid-March while bars and most other entertainment facilities were shut until April 15 on the Prime Minister’s orders, with the country having entered a nationwide social distancing campaign.
According to Hanoi’s tourism department, the number of visitors to the capital during the first quarter of this year was down 47% year-on-year to 3.85 million. Nearly 956,000 were foreigners, falling 44% from a year ago.