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Tourism 2021: opens today, closes tomorrow



The tourism industry experienced another tough year in 2021 as policies applied by local authorities changed often.

Tourism 2021: opens today, closes tomorrow

Dao Manh Luong, Deputy Chair of Quang Ninh Tourism Association, spoke about doing business during the pandemic at a recent workshop.

Luong said his firm is a typical example. He had to borrow big money and sell some cruise ships to get money to ‘feed’ remaining ships and wait for the day of recovery.

Luong believes that he was lucky as he sold the cruise ships and had money to pay debts. He doesn’t need to seek capital from black credit.

More than 90 percent of international travel firms have to shut down or suspend operation because of no clients. Most domestic firms, from bosses to tour guides, have taken other businesses and jobs to earn their living. Some CEOs have turned white-haired because of the worries about how to pay workers and maintain offices.

Travel firms still dreamed of opening the market in the first months of 2021 as the pandemic was controlled. Tourism boomed on April holiday with travelers flocking to sea cities. The flights to Con Dao were full of passengers though airfares were high at VND6-7 million.

Because of high demand, airlines rushed to open air routes to Phu Quoc, with 50 flights to the destination provided each day.

ACV (Airports Corporation of Vietnam) reported that nearly 1.5 million people traveled by air on April holiday, an increase of 30 percent over the same period of 2019, before the pandemic broke out.

The domestic travel demand at that moment was so high that Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung said at a tourism forum held on Ninh Binh that it was a blunder for travel firms not to focus on the domestic market.

However, the joy didn’t last long as the Covid-19 began raging throughout the country.

From a few Covid-19 cases in northern provinces of Lao Cai and Quang Ninh, the pandemic spread to the central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Da Nang and Quang Nam. The pandemic recurrence forced travel firms to cancel tours and reimburse money to clients.

Tourism companies still operated, but ran business in constant anxiety because of changing policies. On June 8, Quang Ninh announced reopening. Travelers rushed to book tours. But two weeks later, on June 25, the locality stopped all activities to serve the fight against the pandemic.

The tourism doors were then almost closed. All domestic flights were canceled since July 19 because of lockdown. In the last five months, Vietnam has been running the national vaccination campaign, the biggest ever in history. Vaccination is believed to be the key to open the tourism doors.

Airlines began taking off again on October, while cities/provinces began preparing for reactivating domestic travel, and international travel in the near future.

Commenting that ‘travel firms must not hibernate any longer’, Le Thanh Thao, Director of Asia Sun Travel, said some travel firms are indifferent to the reopening plan because of their exhaustion, and most other firms decided to ‘go ahead’, though they have to take the roundabout.

In October, some domestic tours were organized under a pilot ‘tourism bubble’ program, both in Hanoi and HCM City.

The Vietnam Tourism Association (VTA) has also launched the program on recovering domestic travel to overcome the consequences caused by the fourth pandemic wave. VTA Deputy Chair Vu The Binh said the program is implemented throughout the country, but only ‘brave’ localities would reap fruit from it.

Tourism 2021: opens today, closes tomorrow

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

“Brave” localities are those brave enough to reopen their doors, while applying flexible measures to attract travelers, rather than those who vow to close the doors until they can contain the pandemic.

For the first time, the principle ‘safe travel’ was a top priority when designing tours. Tourism has changed qualitatively. Travelers have to satisfy the requirements on vaccinations, testing, QR Code scanning and health declaration.

While some localities have reopened their door to receive guests, others still keep their doors close, even though the pandemic wave has been controlled.

Rewards for bravery

Under the Government Resolution 128, Vietnam enters a new normal stage, living together with the pandemic. The document, plus MCST’s Direction 3862 serves as the basis for local authorities and businesses to build criteria for safely serving tourists and gradually restoring tourism activities.

As for inbound tours, Vietnam is currently piloting receiving foreign travelers to five localities and it expects to receive 14,500 this year. MCST has suggested starting the second phase of the plan to receive foreign investors right from December 15; receiving travelers coming in cruises and by land; allowing overseas Vietnamese to come to Vietnam and treat as foreign travelers; and allowing Vietnamese citizens to travel abroad.

The domestic market has also warmed up as travel firms have begun providing tours.

Lao Cai Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Director Tran Xuan Binh said the province has never closed the door because of Covid-19. Lao Cai still kept organizing cultural and festival activities, and it received 20,000 travelers last weekend. Accommodation facilities report that they had only one or two unoccupied rooms.

It’s estimated that Hanoi will receive 4 million domestic travelers this year, Lam Dong 2.2 million, Quang Ninh 4.3 million, Ninh Binh 1.3 million, Thanh Hoa 3.4 million. .

Travel firms in HCM City, after successfully organizing internal tours, have launched many new tours. Saigontourist alone in December served 14 MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) groups. 

Ha Yen



Aromatic Duck with Spicy Chilli Sauce



With Chinese chef Ooi Kar Kim of Pan Pacific Hanoi

chef Ooi Kar Kim

Duck meat is extremely flavourful and nutrient-dense. As one of the latest culinary highlights at Ming Restaurant, Aromatic Duck with Spicy Chili Sauce is specially prepared by chef Ooi Kar Kim of Pan Pacific Hanoi.

The duck is marinated for 24 hours with aromatic herb creating a delightful flavour, and then it is deep-fried making the skin crispy with a robust flavour of spicy chilli sauce, promising an unforgettable dining experience.

Aromatic Duck with Spicy Chilli Sauce


  • Whole duck: 1 weighing about 2.5kg
  • Chicken powder: 100g
  • Sugar: 100g
  • Salt: 20g
  • Crispy flour: 15g
  • Cooking oil: 450ml
  • Sesame oil: 20ml
  • Lime: 40g

For the aromatic duck sauce:

  • Shallots: 50g
  • Garlic: 20g
  • Ginger: 25g
  • Spring onion: 20g
  • Red chilli: 20g
  • Chilli padi: 50g
  • Light soya sauce: 8ml
  • Dark sauce: 5ml
  • Oyster sauce: 8ml
  • Yellow bean paste: 120g
  • Five-spice powder: 2g
  • Star anise powder, cinnamon stick, clove: a little
  • Cooking wine: 20g


  • Clean the duck stomach and cut into two halves.
  • Chop shallot, garlic, ginger, spring onion, red chilli and chilli padi into fine pieces.
  • Heat the wok, and add a little cooking oil and sesame oil. Sauté all the chopped ingredients until fragrant. Add a little oyster sauce, yellow bean paste, and sugar in and mix well for two minutes. Then add in water, five-spice powder, star anise powder, cinnamon stick and seasoning to taste. Toss all the ingredients well until thickened to get the aromatic duck marinated sauce.
  • Marinate the duck halves with the sauce for at least 24 hours. Steam the duck for about 2 hours, take it out and remove all the duck bones.
  • Cut the shallot, chilli, ginger, garlic, and chilli padi into fine pieces, and blend them well with a blender. Add lime juice and season to taste to have the spicy chilli sauce.
  • Coat the duck halves with crispy flour. Heat the wok, add cooking oil until 160C, and deep-fry the duck pieces until they turn golden in colour.
  • Chop the duck into small pieces, place them on a plate and garnish with some herbs. Serve the dish with the spicy chilli sauce.

You can enjoy the dish and other savoury dishes at the Ming Restaurant in Pan Pacific Hanoi, 1 Thanh Niên Road, Ba Đình District, Hà Nội, Việt Nam, Tel: +84 (0)24 38238888.


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Vietnam to host Mekong Tourism Forum in October



Vietnam is scheduled to host the 2022 Mekong Tourism Forum, themed “Rebuild Tourism, Rebound with Resilience”, from October 9 – 14, the first in-person meeting of the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) destinations since the pandemic began in 2019.

Vietnam to host Mekong Tourism Forum in October hinh anh 1Illustrative photo (Source:

Hanoi – Vietnam is scheduled to host the 2022
Mekong Tourism Forum, themed “Rebuild Tourism, Rebound with Resilience”, from
October 9 – 14, the first in-person meeting of the six Greater Mekong Subregion
(GMS) destinations since the pandemic began in 2019.

Gathering public- and private-sector tourism leaders and
experts, the GMS signature forum is set to focus on regional efforts and
cross-sectoral collaboration to foster real action toward rebuilding a more
resilient, inclusive, and sustainable tourism industry.

Trends affecting the sector’s recovery will be discussed,
with speakers touching post-pandemic recovery, digital transformation, localisation
of supply chain, and the social enterprise business model, among other matters.

The event will also feature an exhibition on green tourism
in Vietnam and other GMS nations. It is expected to showcase responsible tourism
products and services, offer visitors hands-on experiences to learn about local
cultures, and connect sides involved in the tourism industry.

First held in 1996, the forum is an annual event for tourism
development and cooperation in the GMS, which comprises Cambodia, China, Laos,
Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam./.


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Dak Lak, Hanoi promote tourism connection



Tourism authorities of the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak and capital Hanoi on August 11 held a conference to promote and link their products.

Dak Lak, Hanoi promote tourism connection hinh anh 1A delegation from the Hanoi Tourism Department poses for a group photo during their familiarization trip to Dak Lak from August 10-12 (Photo: VNA)

Dak Lak – Tourism authorities of the Central
Highlands province of Dak Lak and capital Hanoi on August 11 held a conference
to promote and link their products.

Addressing the event, Deputy Director of the Dak Lak Culture,
Sports and Tourism Nguyen Thuy Phuong Hieu highlighted the province’s efforts
to recover the industry, asking Hanoi for advices to help her province
achieve its goal of welcoming 905,000 visitors this year.

Dak Lak is home to 49 ethnic groups, 41 accredited relics
and the gong culture – a UNESCO world cultural heritage. It also houses 228
lodging facilities and a convenient transport system.

Phung Xuan Khanh, director of the Hanoi-based Tien Phong
travel company, recommended Dak Lak to pay more attention to improving the
quality of its tourism products.

Nguyen Quoc Long, director of the Unitour Hanoi, said people
from the capital are interested in the Central Highlands culture when visiting
Dak Lak, hence a need for the province to develop products imbued with cultural identity. Such development requires coordination from related managing
agencies, associations, and businesses, he added.

Trinh Xuan Tung, head of the travel management office at the
Hanoi Tourism Department, noted Dak Lak boasts potential for tourists to
experience the culture and landscapes, go sightseeing, and conduct research./.


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