Hanoi – The Vietnam
National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) is making preparations for the recovery
of the tourism market amid a new COVID-19 outbreak.
Speaking at an online
meeting last week, VNAT General Director Nguyen Trung Khanh said the
agency was working with localities to rehabilitate the tourism industry as
the new outbreak has hit businesses again after three months of no locally
transmitted cases of COVID-19.
He noted that hotels, transport
and other tourism services have a close mutual relationship.
Any disruption to the
relationship greatly affects the overall operation of the tourism
industry, he said.
Tourism has been one of the
industries hardest hit globally by the pandemic, and Vietnam is no
exception, with foreign tourist arrivals and tourism revenue falling by more
than 50 percent in the first half of the year, according to Khanh.
After a brief recovery of
domestic tourism thanks to many promotions, travel firms are now facing
thousands of cancellation and refund requests.
Vo Anh Tai, deputy general
director of Saigon Tourist Travel Service Company, said
that most customers who want to cancel tours have requested
a full refund of their payment.
“This is a problem that
enterprises cannot solve by themselves. When customers buy tours, the
companies have to pay a part of that money to service providers such as
airlines, restaurants, hotels and resorts,” he said.
Nguyen Thi Hoat, executive
director of Top Travel, said the firm is facing challenges related to cash
“Many customers are delaying
their payment of the remaining amount that is due for their
chosen tour. When making a contract, the travel company
usually takes only 50-80 percent of the tour value.”
Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, deputy
general director of Vietravel, said that as of August 5, more
than 22,300 tourists had cancelled tours worth a total
revenue of 102 billion VND (4.4 million USD). The number is expected to
increase in the coming time.
typically have to book services with service providers in advance. In
“force majeure” events in previous outbreaks, only some service providers
agreed to refund, while many others applied penalties when
customers cancelled tours, Hoang said.
Khanh said the VNAT
would continue to provide support to enterprises. However, many
tourism businesses said they have been unable to receive government
incentives since the first COVID-19 outbreak due to the complicated
procedures they must follow.
Most travel businesses have
requested a reduction of VAT as well as electricity and
water bills. They also would like extension on rental
payments and financial support for employees in the tourism sector.
Preliminary statistics from localities and
businesses show that the number of tourists who have postponed or
cancelled tours has reached hundreds of thousands across the country,
significantly affecting tourism service providers.
The cancellation rate in localities
is expected to be more than 90 percent by the end of the
month. Major tourist hotpots in the country have confirmed that the
cancellation rate of tourist bookings has reached more than 80 percent.
Some customers have agreed to postpone or
adjust their travel times, but others have cancelled their tours and
requested a full refund.
After social distancing measures were
suspended in late April, the domestic tourism industry strongly revived
between June and early July. According to the VNAT, hotel room occupancy
in mid-June reached 60 percent by mid-week and up to 90 percent by the end of
Across the nation, the number of domestic
tourists in June was estimated at 7 million, twice the figure in May. In Da Nang,
the city’s tourism authority recorded more than 450,000 visitors in June, up 85
percent from May.
In response to the resurgence of
COVID-19, Vietnam is taking serious measures to stop the virus from
entering and spreading in the community, the VNAT said./.