Hanoi – As one of the major tourist destinations of the country, Hanoi has suffered adverse impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The capital city is seeking ways to overcome difficulties to reach the “dual target”.
Leaders of the city’s tourism sector have prepared scenarios and plans to respond to any circumstances to ensure its growth.
Overcome difficulties from COVID-19
In the first six months of 2021, due to impacts of the pandemic, Hanoi welcomed only about 2.9 million domestic visitors, a fall of 25 percent from the same period in 2020. Total revenue of the sector was estimated at 8.1 trillion VND (351,77 million USD), a drop of 57 percent year on year.
So far, Vietnam has yet to open its door to foreign tourists, and that is why most of the foreigners arriving in the capital city was experts and labourers.
The start of the fourth coronavirus wave coincided with the National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day holidays, which has severely impacted the tourism sector.
About 90 percent of the customers cancelled their tours booked for May and early June while programmes stimulating travel demand in summer, expected to be the “golden season” for tourism businesses, have yet to begin due to the complex COVID-19 situation in many provinces and cities.
According to the city Department of Tourism, as of the end of March, about 95 percent of the local travel firms halted their operations, along with 267 out of the 1,191 international firms.
Meanwhile, 90 percent of the labourers in the sector, or 12,168 people, lost their job. About 750 accommodation facilities were also forced to close.
Amid the situation, the city tourism sector is focusing on supervising hotels permitted to serve people undertaking quarantine and inspecting the pandemic prevention and control activities in the tourist sites across the city.
The highlight of the sector in the first half of this year is the restructuring of new tourism products to lure more domestic visitors.
Therefore, the capital city’s tourism industry has actively restructured new products with a view to better serving domestic tourists, such as night tours to decipher Thang Long Imperial Citadel – a UNESCO-recognised world cultural heritage site, tours to the Museum of Ethnology, or night tours to the Hoa Lo prison relic site.
New plan of actions
Although it is struggling against the pandemic, the city tourism sector is designing and making a system of tourist signs, logos for craft villages and souvenirs. It is also working on a set of criteria to evaluate high-quality tourist spots and areas for 2021-2025, and has a plan to upgrade the quality of products and destinations in association with relic sites and craft villages in Hanoi, also for the period to 2025.
The Hanoi Department of Tourism has finished a plan of action for the second half of 2021.
The department has advised the city People’s Committee to carry out a tourism promotion programme on the Vietnam Television (VTV channels) and Hanoi Television channel HTV, along with the installation of LED screens in Noi Bai International Airport and Hoan Kiem Lake and Ly Thai To Monument to popularise the city tourism.
The department is negotiating on terms of the cooperation, to advise the municipal People’s Committee to sign an additional annex to the Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation with the US-based TV channel CNN in 2021.
Director of the department Dang Huong Giang said that in the time to come, the department will focus on restructuring the sector in a comprehensive manner from infrastructure, product, businesses, and environment to meet the market demand in the future.
The municipal tourism sector has designed three growth scenarios for the sector in 2021. In the best, an early recovery will allow Hanoi to welcome 15.34 million domestic visitors, double the figure in 2020 and equal to 70 percent of the figure in 2019 before the pandemic. An early recovery will mean the normal operation of services and accommodation facilities, with an average occupancy exceeding 45 percent.
The sector has also set an overall target of catering to between 13.16 and 19.4 million tourists, including 10.96-15.34 million domestic visitors, for this year./.