Hanoi suspends CNN ads pending end to COVID-19 pandemic

Hanoi authorities and CNN have agreed to temporarily suspend tourism promotion ads on the American news channel until the COVID-19 crisis passes.

hanoi suspends cnn ads pending end to covid-19 pandemic hinh 0
The St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi is left deserted amid the coronavirus pandemic, April 2020.

Tran Duc Hai, Director of the municipal Department of Tourism, said on April 15 that the department had negotiated with CNN a temporary halt to all tourism promotions on the global news channel following an order by Hanoi Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung.

"Hanoi will only re-launch the tourism promotion after the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

Earlier, Chung had asked the department to work with CNN on suspending advertisements on the channel, saying he wanted to mobilize all resources towards fighting the pandemic.

Hanoi has recorded 129 COVID-19 cases and discharged 71 of them after treatment. Over 900 people are being quarantined at centralized facilities while 19,000 others are being monitored in the capital city.

Last year, Hanoi had signed a US$4 million tourism promotion deal with CNN for the 2019-2024 period. In 2019, CNN aired 15 short films on city 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 have been shut until April 15 on the Prime Minister’s order, with the country having entered a 15-day nationwide social distancing campaign.

Both Hanoi and HCMC have proposed that the government extends the campaign for two more weeks until April 30.

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%, according to official data.

The country welcomed nearly 3.7 million international tourists in the first quarter of this year, down 18.1% year-on-year, as entry was restricted and tourism destinations closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.