Priotise saving the tourism industry

(ĐTTCO) - When the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was brought under control, the tourism industry was seen as the pioneer in restoring the economy. 

Priotise saving the tourism industry

However, the sudden and unexpected resurgence of the pandemic has shattered many hopes and domestic tourism is once again reeling under a slowdown, with much loss of confidence and an unsettled fear among travelers.

Drastic economic slowdown

When the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic was brought successfully under control, the immediate focus turned to reviving the domestic tourism industry that had been almost paralyzed since the beginning of the year. With tourism companies reeling under a drastic economic slowdown and near bankruptcy situation, it was necessary to encourage travel back within the country.

The measures that were put in place did reap benefits and the efforts did show initial positive results. The influx of domestic tourists gradually began to increase, and people began to fill up many entertainment spots. The streets, though not yet as normal as before, began to fill up again and after a long depressing spell one saw a breath of life in economic recovery again.

The three pillars of good economic growth also delivered positive news. Agriculture was good, there was a trade surplus, and disbursement of investment capital increased to the highest in the last five years. Grasping this new opportunity, the program to stimulate domestic tourism with the cooperation of state authorities, localities and businesses, while creating a separate attraction for top destinations, proved a boon for domestic tourism enterprises.

This effort then came suddenly tumbling down. The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic struck in central localities in an unpredictable way and offset all ongoing efforts to revive the tourism industry and thence the economy. The confidence level that was built among the public was suddenly lost overnight, and the tourism industry is once again back to finding its feet again. It can be said that the Covid-19 resurgence is truly a nightmare for the tourism industry. Many contracts have been canceled, and many tours and trips have had to be abandoned.

So far, advance deposits have not been fully refunded, and both customers and tourism businesses are suffering from this sudden outbreak. All accommodation facilities and restaurants have closed again, beaches are deserted, and any hopes that international tourists will come again soon to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have been shattered.

The situation in the central city of Da Nang and Quang Nam Province is even more tragic. Businesses attached to the tourism industry have lost much and unable to cope with the situation. Trains and other modes of transport have no passengers. Tourists trying to escape pandemic hit areas are being subjected to screening and mandatory isolation.

In Hanoi alone, from 27 July to 4 August, the time when the pandemic resurged, more than 30,000 tourists from 33 travel companies canceled all domestic tours. In some tourist sites, the number of visitors decreased from 20% to 60% compared to before the pandemic resurged in Da Nang. The International Travel Fair (Hanoi 2020) has been halted, and many tourism stimulus programs that were about to be launched have been cancelled as well.

Maintain internal strength

This very difficult period is also a time to find solutions. The tourism industry now needs to determine how to develop and restructure itself once again. Even though the pandemic has put a halt to growth, in the near future, it is necessary to look for solutions to overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic, proactively prepare a better material foundation, and improve on technical skills and human resources to accelerate growth when the situation finally improves.

This very difficult period is also a time to find solutions. We must try our best to keep the economy from breaking apart and keep our internal strength, to be able to quickly recover in the post Covid-19 pandemic phase.
Each locality and unit needs to invest in exploiting its unique features and create indigenous new tourism products. In context of forced postponement of tourism activities, it is necessary to embellish and maintain facilities and retain a team of professional human resources, strengthen communication to combine medical and pandemic prevention measures to reassure visitors who are willing to return to travel again.

Besides, we need to continuously stimulate domestic tourism and international tourism on the basis of abundant, high-quality services, and combine all organizations participating in tourism, from large businesses,  modern and high-end facilities for household travel, apply modest conditions, and adopt popular methods. We also have to ensure hygiene, safety, interests of travelers, and quality of service for tourists on any roads, at any places, in any mode of transport, at reasonable costs, and ensure harmony of interests between tourists and businesses.

In particular, in order to save the tourism industry, the Government should continue to use monetary solutions through State bailout packages, delay business obligations, and support them to promote tourism. We must try our best to keep the economy from breaking apart and keep our internal strength, to be able to quickly recover in the post Covid-19 pandemic phase.

Nguyen Duy Nghia

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