Revival of tourism more crucial than calculating profit

(ĐTTCO) - Vietnam’s goal of attracting one hundred million domestic travelers in 2020 was severed by the sudden and unpredictable spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The VinWonders Nam Hoi An tourist complex is well invested to attract tourists in the summer.

The VinWonders Nam Hoi An tourist complex is well invested to attract tourists in the summer.

Speaking with Saigon Investment, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Ky, General Director of Vietravel Tourism Company, said that from now on until the end of the year, his company hopes to attract at least 30 to 35 million domestic visitors, and gradually bring back domestic tourism to its feet again.

JOURNALIST: - Sir, how have people changed now in their outlook to tourism and what stimulus programs should the tourism industry adopt to bring back and attract domestic tourists, especially now as we move towards peak summer?

Mr. NGUYEN QUOC KY: - After the Covid-19 pandemic, visitors made very drastic changes in their plans for travel and gave more priority to destinations that offered higher standards of safety, preferred travel on personal vehicles and took short, close-distance trips to nearby locations. This time the summer will be shorter, lasting only six to seven weeks, but it will give a good opportunity for tourism to recover.

In order to best serve tourist needs, the tourism industry must determine that the first criterion is safety, such as a safe destination and safe service, therefore there is a dire need to create safe and friendly products. At the same time, the tourism industry must stay linked together very closely for all travel related activities that would also include accommodation, transportation, and visits to attraction sites. Each unit must be willing to accept losses in the first phase to help revive tourism and draw back the visitors for travel tours once again.

This is a golden time for domestic travel because many travel agencies have launched attractive products with discounts of upto 40% to 50%. This is because the airlines have launched many routes at zero VND, and accommodation services have also reduced prices by 30% to 40%, and most attraction sites are offering entry at a 70% discount. At this time no one must discuss profits but only focus on bringing back the industry to its feet, because without travelers all programs will be rendered meaningless.

- Stimulating demand and reducing tour prices are being implemented on a large scale, but will this need more breakthrough solutions to revive tourism?

- I am proposing to the Government to apply beneficial policies to support the Vietnamese people when they travel domestically. Specifically, visitors registering for a tour at a travel company will be supported with a one million dong voucher to be deducted from the tour purchase. This amount is normally accounted by businesses but the State will support it by deducting the Value Added Tax (VAT) from businesses. With this method, if the scale is of ten million tourists, the State will spend about VND 10,000 bn for this support package. However, if tourists spend VND 3 mn on a domestic tour, businesses will earn VND 30,000 bn, and under the principle of tourism spillover, tourism companies will collect three parts, society will receive seven parts and the cash flow into society will be about VND 70,000 bn. As a result, hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers, and thousands of companies will resume operations again.

The Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis, for which we need to do things as they have never been done before.
I think this policy will not only be effective but will also boost domestic demand, encourage people to travel, and also bring revenue to businesses and the State. If the Government has a good policy and implements an effective stimulus campaign, then the size of the domestic market from now until the end of the year will reach about 35 million visitors. In fact, the support of money incentive for travelers has been conducted in many countries before. For example, Japan has done it three times in succession during crisis times and has been very successful.

- Sir, has Vietravel shown any positive signs of recovery from the time of reopening until now, and from now till the end of the year what will be the expected scenario?

- We reopened from 13 May and until now have attracted more than 10,000 visitors, with sales of around VND 70 bn. This is also a very positive sign because we are going from a fresh new start with no visitors to visitors now coming back. However, Vietravel has three market branches in domestic, inbound and outbound visitors, and according to initial calculation this year will see losses of about 40%, but if it opens later than July the damage will be about 60%.

We also propose that the Government open some safe markets in July on the principle of offering safe travel and services under a slogan, "I am safe-you are safe-we are safe". We are now concerned about the second wave of the pandemic so we need to be selective but cannot close altogether, because we may lose the opportunity to other countries. Vietnam has succeeded in controlling the pandemic, but we also need to take quick steps to recover the economy, including bringing back the tourism industry to its former strength.

- Thank you very much.

Thanh Dung (Interviewer)

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