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In Ho Chi Minh City, why are quarantine hotel rooms more expensive than normal ones?



Insights from hospitality insiders in Ho Chi Minh City has for the first time cleared the nagging question of why room rates for isolation are much higher than those at ordinary accommodations.

Though finally reopening its borders again in October to meet mounting traveling demand, Vietnam has acted cautiously and requires all passengers on commercial flights to Vietnam to acquire negative COVID-19 test results within three days of boarding. It is also compulsory for such passengers to submit information on their selected quarantine hotels.

Travelers can pick a hotel from a list of quarantine accommodations already approved by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.

The rates range between VND1.25 million (US$54) and VND5 million ($216), including three meals a day, and might be hiked up depending on what extra service options the guests demand.

“It costs hotels a great deal of resources, including personnel and expenses related to infrastructure and services, to act as quarantine facilities,” said a hotel manager who called herself Ha.

Seemingly easy but a tough call

Ha is in charge of operations at an approved four-star quarantine hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

Her hotel must follow through a set of strict criteria as per regulations by the municipal Department of Health, Ha said.

For example, it has to cease operating commercially and to serve quarantine purposes solely when a guest undergoing isolation there.

The hotel should meet certain conditions to facilitate the safe transport of quarantined guests and their waste, as well as setting up a 24/7 security booth and dedicating a whole floor to accommodating the quarantined guests.

Guests who check in on different days must stay on different floors, the hotel manager said.

Ha added that her hotel must also arrange the so-called ‘buffer rooms,’ literally empty rooms staying in between quarantine rooms.

Service staff members who have direct contact with the guests must self-quarantine for 14 days and are allowed to only go home once their guests have tested negative at the end of their isolation.

A representative of the five-star quarantine hotel Holiday Inn seconded those requirements, adding that the hotel has had to add new infrastructure facilities, offer medical training to its staff, and follow the health department’s strict criteria on hygiene standards, disinfection, and quarantine procedures.

“Because of such stringent disease prevention measures, room prices at quarantine hotels are not as cheap as those charged by normal ones,” Ha said.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism has acknowledged the efforts of the hotels to double as quarantine facilities.

“Becoming a quarantine accommodation might sound easy enough but in reality it is a tough call for such hotels,” said Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, deputy director of the department.

“If you want to service quarantined guests, you must abide by several medical requirements of the health department.”

Expanding the network

Hoa said that the city currently has 10 hotels approved for quarantine purposes, of which two are specifically dedicated to cabin crews while the remaining eight are used for ordinary travelers permitted to enter Vietnam, with the number of rooms available totaling 940.

The department, however, has proposed adding another 16 hotels boasting 1,025 rooms, of which 15 are in the budget range with ratings of one or two stars, she revealed.

Authorities are calling on affordable hotels across the city to register as a quarantine facility.

That should offer travelers more options price-wise while balancing out the current list, which only comprises three- to five-star hotels.

“Authorities are inspecting and reviewing these hotels on whether they can meet quarantine criteria on infrastructure, staff training, and medical care,” Hoa said.

“Once they’ve met all conditions, we will submit a list to the municipal People’s Committee to approve them as official quarantine facilities.”

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TTC Sugar to issue $30 million of unsecured bonds



TTC Sugar will sell VNĐ700 billion (US$ 3 million) of unsecured bonds to the public next quarter. — Photo courtesy of the firm

HÀ NÔI — TTC Sugar has announced it will offer VNĐ700 billion (US$30 million) worth of unsecured bonds up for public auction.

The firm said the interest rate of the bonds in the first year would be 10 per cent in the first four quarters then a floating interest rate after that.

The firm expects to release the bonds in the first quarter next year with the minimum order for individual investors VNĐ20 billion and institutional investors VNĐ250 billion.

It said the non-convertible bonds were not guaranteed by assets in the maximum term of three years and were issued to pay for sugar purchase contracts in the first quarter of 2021

Sugar purchase contracts included those with Thành Thành Công Gia Lai company worth VNĐ288.4 billion, Biên Hòa – Ninh Hòa Sugar Company worth VNĐ205.8 billion and Biên Hòa Đồng Nai TTC Sugar Company worth VNĐ205.8 billion.

As of September 30, TTC Sugar had total capital of more than VNĐ18.4 trillion, total financial debt of VNĐ8.6 trillion, in which bond loans reached nearly VNĐ1.3 trillion. In addition, the firm has nearly VNĐ153 billion of convertible bonds.

The shares of TTC Sugar with the sticker SBT gained 2.5 per cent to reach VNDD18,500 on the HCM City Stock Exchange (HoSE) yesterday —


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VN-Index back in the green after single red session



VN-Index back in the green after single red session

An investor looks at stock prices on a screen at a brokerage in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.

The VN-Index shrugged off a single-session loss, gaining 0.58 percent to close at 1,008.87 points Tuesday, with gains driven by large cap stocks

The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), on which the VN-Index is based, saw a fairly balanced session with 221 stocks gaining and 199 losing. Out of these, 15 stocks hit their ceiling prices, the highest they could go in a trading session.

Total trading volume rose marginally over the previous session, to VND11.68 trillion ($504.2 million), of which half went towards the VN30, a basket of the market’s largest capped stocks.

The VN30-Index for this basket surged 1.08 percent, significantly outperforming the general market, with 18 gaining tickers and seven losing.

Topping gains were stocks in the private banking sector. STB of Sacombank soared 5.5 percent, VPB of VPBank 4.1 percent, TCB of Techcombank 1.7 perent, HDB of HDBank 1.4 percent, while EIB of Eximbank shed 0.3 percent.

Results in the public banking sector, however, were mixed. MBB of mid-sized Military Bank rose 2.5 percent, while of Vietnam’s three biggest lenders by assets, CTG of VietinBank was up 1.2 percent, BID of BIDV kept its opening price, while VCB of Vietcombank was the worst performer on the VN30, down 1.1 percent.

Other major gainers this session included TCH of truck dealer Hoang Huy Group, up 5.4 percent, SBT of agricultural exporter TTC-Sugar, up 2.5 percent, VNM of dairy giant Vinamilk, with 1.4 percent, and MSN of food conglomerate Masan Group, with 1.2 percent.

VIC of private conglomerate Vingroup, HoSE’s biggest cap, rose 1.1 percent, while VHM of its real estate arm Vinhomes was up 0.8 percent, and VRE of retail arm Vincom Retail added 0.2 percent.

In oil and gas, GAS of energy giant PetroVietnam Gas and POW of electricity generator PetroVietnam Power both kept their opening prices, while PLX of gasoline distributor Petrolimex shed 0.4 percent.

In the other direction, the biggest losers included ROS of construction firm FLC Faros, down 0.9 percent, KDH of real estate developer Khang Dien House, down 0.7 percent, and FPT of IT services firm FPT, with 0.4 percent.

The HNX-Index for the Hanoi Stock Exchange, home to mid- and small-caps, climbed 0.83 percent, but the UPCoM-Index for the Unlisted Companies Market jumped 1.36 percent.

Foreign investors continued to be net buyers to the tune of nearly VND420 billion on all three bourses, with buying pressure mostly on VNM of Vinamilk, and the FUEVFVND, an exchange-traded fund replicating the performance of stocks on the VN Diamond Index, a bag of 14 stocks, most of which are blue chips.


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Golden Brand Awards launched in HCMC



The launch ceremony of the HCMC Golden Brand Awards held at the headquarters of The Saigon Times Group on December 1 – PHOTO: THANH HOA

HCMC – The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade and The Saigon Times Group jointly launched the HCMC Golden Brand Awards this morning, December 1, aimed at honoring businesses in the city for their efforts in building their brands.

Addressing the launch ceremony, Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, said HCMC is the country’s economic hub where many businesses have been established and running.

The HCMC Golden Brand Awards is expected to help raise the awareness of businesses operating in the city over the importance of building their brands and encourage them to accelerate innovation, creativity and development, thus helping them improve their competitive capacity in local and international markets.

The organizers will give priority to businesses active in four key industries and nine major services of the city. Selection will be based on their efficiency in building their brands, innovation, creativity, the quality and safety of their products and their corporate social responsibility.

“The success of an enterprise relies not only on the popularity of its brand but also on its efficient business model. The assessment over the health of a brand is no longer based mainly on communication or marketing strategies but on the brand platform, which is the foundation that helps businesses develop sustainably and maintain their competitiveness in the long term,” said Tran Minh Hung, editor-in-chief of The Saigon Times Group.

According to Nguyen Dong Phuong, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, businesses eligible for the awards are those that comply with all the prevailing regulations on production and trade. They must be based in HCMC and must not commit copyright infringement or trade fraud. Their brand should have been developed for at least two years.

The jury will comprise experts in building brands. The award winners will be announced in January 2021.

Registrations can be submitted to The Saigon Times Group, 35 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, HCMC, or the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, 136 Hai Ba Trung Street, Ward 6, District 3, HCMC.

The registration form can be downloaded from


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