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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



Tourism board proposes complete opening of market from May 1



The Tourism Advisory Board (TAB), the Private Sector Development Committee (Committee IV) and the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) Alliance have proposed that the Government remove all domestic and international travel restrictions and completely reopen the tourism market from May 1.

Tourism board proposes complete opening of market from May 1 hinh anh 1Tourists in Hoi An (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi – The Tourism Advisory Board (TAB), the Private Sector Development Committee (Committee IV) and the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) Alliance have proposed that the Government remove all domestic and international travel restrictions and completely reopen the tourism market from May 1.

In a recent letter sent to the Prime Minister, the eighth that the TAB has sent to the Government leader since COVID-19 broke out in Vietnam, the three agencies explained that they choose the date to give enough time for travel firms, hotels and airlines to make necessary preparations and for localities to complete the vaccination of booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines to local residents.

They stressed the need for all central agencies to work closely together to design necessary mechanisms and procedures to implement the plan, suggesting the expansion of visa exemption for visitors from all targeted tourism markets and countries with strong investment in Vietnam.

In the letter, the three offices highlighted the Government’s success in making Vietnam one of the six countries with the highest COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the world, as well as efforts by ministries and sectors in reopening the country through pilot programmes to receive international tourists and resume a number of regular international air routes which is expected to help many travel firms survive.

They stressed that it’s time to define the time to return to the new normal situation.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism plans to hold a conference on January 24 with the participation of representatives of six ministries and 20 localities and well as major travel firms to discuss the complete open of the tourism market on the April 30-May 1 holidays in a safe manner.

After two months of implementing the pilot scheme to welcome foreign visitors, the tourism sector has served nearly 8,000 with high safety level./.


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Quang Ninh ready to welcome foreign tourists back



The northern coastal province of Quang Ninh is ready to welcome international tourists back from late January or early February.

Quang Ninh ready to welcome foreign tourists back hinh anh 1Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ninh – The northern coastal province of Quang Ninh is
ready to welcome international tourists back from late January or early

The province is among seven localities nationwide chosen to pilot reopening
doors to foreign visitors in a bid to revive the tourism industry after a long
hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuan Chau Group was selected to welcome and serve
international tourists to the province. The group has directed relevant
units to make thorough preparations, ensure necessary facilities, sufficient medical
equipment and supplies.

Travel agencies, businesses, hotels, accommodation
establishments and restaurants have prepared the best and safest options for
international tourists to feel secure when coming to Quang Ninh.

At present, Quang Ninh has 625 tourist businesses and establishments
that meet safety criteria for pandemic prevention and control set by the
province, of which there are 471 accommodation establishments, 79 shopping and
dining establishments, 13 tourist sites, and 62 tour and transportation
companies. With these destinations and service facilities, when visitors come
to and use their services, safety can be ensured at the highest level.

In order to attract both domestic and foreign tourists to Quang Ninh, the provincial Department of Tourism has stepped up tourism
promotion activities, created new tourism products and services and those with regional
linkage, develop a safe tourism programme, and select typical and safe tourism
products to introduce to travel and tourism businesses.

The department’s director Pham Ngoc Thuy said it is committed to accompanying businesses and tourists, issuing appropriate and
humane solutions to handle situations arising in the process of welcoming
tourists, and continue monitoring and making recommendations to authorities
at all levels to make timely and appropriate adjustments to the new situation so
as to ensure flexible and safe adaptation./.


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Red River Delta listed among 52 best travel destinations in 2022



New York Times has included Red River Delta, home to long-standing craft villages and a century-old cultural heritage, in its annual list of 52 best places to travel in 2022.

It was also the only representative in Southeast Asia to break into the list compiled by travel editors of the New York Times based on more than 2,000 suggestions. After two years of the Covid-19 crisis, this year’s list highlights places that can deal with problems like overcrowding and climate change.

“Once travel begins to normalize, tourists will undoubtedly flock to Vietnam’s world-famous beaches and dynamic megacities. But head north to the traditional villages of Red River Delta, and you can immerse yourself in centuries-old cultural practices and a way of life at risk of disappearing,” the U.S. newspaper wrote.

It added that Red River Delta is the cradle of quan ho folk singing, recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2010./.


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