Hanoi – After a bad year for business in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down travel around the world, Vietnam’s tourism revenue fell even further this year. Plans were discussed by experts at a forum to access the current state of the hospitality market and map out a way towards a post-COVID-19 recovery.
Speaking at the “Vietnam Tourism and Hospitality – Managing in Uncertain Times and the Way Forward”, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu said the tourism industry experienced a decline of 16 percent in domestic visitors and 41 percent in tourism revenue in the first nine months of 2021, compared to the same period last year.
“Accommodations, tour operators and travel services have been shut down or closed temporarily while most international and domestic flights have been cancelled or interrupted significantly due to travel restrictions,” Sieu said.
“The percentage of occupied rooms in Vietnam’s accommodation services was about 20 percent in 2020 and less than 10 percent in 2021.”
RMIT Head of Management Department from the School of Business & Management Associate, Professor Nguyen Quang Trung, observed that “the past two years have been challenging for the hospitality and tourism landscape, leading to a really tough time for hotels, restaurants and tourism establishments.”
In response to these uncertain times, InterContinental Hanoi Landmark72 General Manager, Patrick Verove, shared proactive plans which have helped the hotel overcome the difficulties.
“At a time of great uncertainty, we have ensured guests can trust us for flexibility, cleanliness, safety and wellbeing priority,” Verove said.
“Faced with temporary closures and low demand, we have identified ways for operational changes to improve profitability, protect cash flow, apply sophisticated digital solutions and train our staff with a growth mindset.”
Capella Hotel General Manager, Christoph Strahm, emphasised the hotel had taken various measures including speeding up the adaptation of “state-of-the-art” technology and the implementation of touchless services to deliver a modern guest experience.
“We have prioritised safety for both guests and staff by adopting touchless services such as contactless check-in and check-out, in-room tablets, mobile key and press reader, among others,” Strahm said.
When talking about the local tourism recovery plan, experts thought about how the easing of restrictions can be managed, in line with the economy getting back on track. The tourism sector is expected to benefit from recovery measures and stimulus packages, allowing the sector to return gradually.
Sieu urged tourism and hospitality companies to revise their development strategies to adapt to new trends in tourism demands.
“Domestic tourism will surge, with a large proportion of travellers favouring green destinations ranging from beaches, mountains, forests, and national parks, followed by cuisine, culture, history and entertainment,” he said.
“Tourism and hospitality companies should innovate and diversify into new products which focus on wellness, safety, nature and authentic experiences.”
Two other panellists at the forum included Frasers Suites Hanoi General Manager, Sandy Ng, and Silk Path Hotels General Manager and Chief Business Officer, Nguyen Thi Thanh Thủy.
Following the success of a previous event in January, the online forum attracted close to 100 participants. They included local authorities and business leaders in the tourism and hospitality industry, as well as academics and students./.