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H1 foreign arrivals plummet 56 pct

H1 foreign arrivals plummet 56 pct

Foreigners row a boat near Mua Cave (Hang Mua) in the northern province of Ninh Binh, in March 2020. Photo by Shutterstock/OlegD.

With Vietnam’s borders remaining closed as a Covid-19 preventive measure, foreign visitor numbers in H1 dropped 55.8 percent year-on-year to 3.74 million.

Vietnam received 2.72 million Asians in the first half of the year, down 58.4 percent from a year ago, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO). They accounted for over 72 percent of total foreign arrivals.

Tourist arrivals from China and South Korea, Vietnam’s biggest feeder markets, dropped by 63 percent to 919,000 and 60.4 percent to 823,000, respectively, as Vietnam suspended all international flights to the two Asian countries since February.

The GSO estimates Jan-June tourism revenue at VND10.3 trillion ($443 million), down 53.2 percent year-on-year.

June alone saw the number of foreign arrivals fall by 99.3 percent year-on-year to 8,800. Arrivals this month mainly comprised foreign experts and highly-skilled workers granted special entry to work for economic projects in Vietnam.

The country has suspended all international flights since March 25 and banned entry of foreign nationals since March 22 except for special cases.

Luong Hoai Nam, member of the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB), told VnExpress that it was hard to reopen doors to foreign tourists at this time as a second wave of Covid-19 has broken out in Asia.

“If negotiations with countries in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania are conducted soon, the reopening of some international routes in the next three months is feasible. However, European and North American markets will require a longer wait because the Covid-19 situation there is still very complicated,” he added.

Nicolas Audier, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham), urged Vietnam to resume international flights with Europe as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is slated to take effect in August, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

At a government meeting in Hanoi last week, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stated that Vietnam was not yet ready to open up to international tourists given the lack of improvement in the global situation and the second wave of infections suffered by several countries including China and South Korea.

Vietnam has gone 74 days without community transmission of the novel coronavirus. It has recorded 355 infections without any deaths. With five patients confirmed to have recovered on Monday, the country now has 20 active cases.

The virus has claimed over 490,000 lives in 212 countries and territories.



Colourful coral reefs shine in Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc has one of the most beautiful coral reefs in Vietnam that covers 480 hectares and consists of 360 types of hard and dozens of soft corals.

Snorkelling is a popular service for tourists in Phu Quoc with clear water and beautiful coral reefs with lots of fish. The snorkelling spots are mostly in the southern part of the island and the most popular are the dive sites off the coast of An Thoi Archipelago which consists of dozens of islands like the Pineapple Island and the Coconut Island.

At some locations, tourists can easily see the coral reefs under the shallow water. Tourists can already find many coral reefs under two to four metres deep and the marine life becomes more diverse at greater depths. From Phu Quoc Island, tourists can take a boat for two hours or use the cable which only takes 20 minutes to go to An Thoi Archipelago.

Three popular services are snorkelling, diving and scuba, and sea walking. The package prices are also different, ranging from VND280,000 (USD12) to VND350,000 for snorkelling, VND900,000 to VND1m for diving and scuba and VND950,000 for sea walking service per person to get to the bottom of the ocean and get even closer to the corals and fish.

The tourists are advised to wear flip flops or sandals, swim suits and to bring one or two outfits to change later. They should also bring a water-proof bag for their mobile phones. They should check the mask for fitting and must always follow the instructions.

The Phu Quoc Coral Park-Seaworld is the first coral park in Vietnam. It is preserving 200 types of coral and anemones, 100 types of fish and other marine life in An Thoi.

Some photos of the coral reefs:



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Bird’s nest tours in HCM City wow visitors

New or diversified tourism products are being introduced by many travel agents in Ho Chi Minh City to attract more holidaymakers. 

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Tours discovering mangrove forests and visiting bird’s nests in Can Gio district are expected to give added impetus to the city’s tourism sector.

Visitors can enjoy the mangrove forest along the Long Tau River by canoe. Leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the city, they can breathe in fresh air and the aroma of the forest, and be wowed as they come across bird’s nests close by the river.

Salangane bird’s nests and related products are now quite popular but few people know how a nest is formed, the history of the trade, or the process of making bird’s nest products.

The bird’s nest trade has seen robust development recently in Can Gio, the only coastal district in Ho Chi Minh City. The new tour is expected to attract more tourists from both home and aboard.

Visiting bird’s nests in Can Gio is an interesting and environmentally-friendly tour and expected to improve tourism in the district in particular and Ho Chi Minh City in general./.VNA


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Ha Long tour boats at risk of closing due to lack of customers

Many tour boats in Ha Long Bay may have to close and go bankrupt, said Chairman of Quang Ninh People Committee Nguyen Van Thang at a meeting session with the provincial people’s council.

  A tourist vessel on Ha Long Bay

According to Thang, 92% of the customers that use overnight boats in Ha Long Bay are international tourists. Since the start of Covid-19 pandemic, the number of international tourists went to near zero while the number of domestic tourists hardly increased.

“The travel season for domestic tourists is ending and usually, we had a surge of international tourists from October. But it may not be the case this year since the situation worldwide is still complicated,” he said. “Without support policies, many boats will close and firms will go bankrupt.”

Quang Ninh People’s Committee has proposed to add more benefactors for the tourism stimulus package during the meeting sessions with Quang Ninh People’s Council on July 8 and 9. Overnight tourists can buy tickets to tourists spots in Ha Long Bay at half price. The current lowest price is VND500,000 per person per one-day-one-night tour.

Statistics from Ha Long Bay Management Board show that there are 187 tour boats with 2,181 rooms and 1,200 employees. The total investment into those boats is estimated at VND2trn (USD86m) and the majority of it came from bank loans. Because of the virus outbreak, the occupancy rate is only 16%.

Quang Ninh Department of Tourism reported that from May 15 to June 30, Quang Ninh Province received over 22,000 overnight visitors. Most boat owners have reduced prices by 50% to attract customers.

Thang asked related agencies to monitor the situation and issue suitable support policies to help the tourism sector. Laodong/Dtinews


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