Travel agencies urged not to receive tourists from countries hit by COVID-19
The Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) said yesterday that it has asked travel firms to stop receiving tourists from countries hit by COVID-19 in the face of new complicated development of the disease in South Korea and Japan.
In its document No.23/CV-HHDLVN, VITA urged local tourism associations and travel companies to keep themselves updated about the COVID-19 situation, and strictly follow the Government and Health Ministry’s regulations on the disease prevention and control.
In case tours cannot be cancelled, travel firms must ask their partners to provide information on customers’ activities in the 21 days prior to their scheduled trip to Vietnam. The visitors are required to comply with Vietnam’s rules on disease prevention, including quarantine if necessary.
Meanwhile, with groups of visitors who have already entered Vietnam, local travel agents need to confirm their health condition in the 21 days before their date of arrival, as well as monitor their health during their stay in Vietnam, and report the information to competent authorities.
VITA also suggested local firms to refrain from organising tours to countries with COVID-19 outbreaks. For groups of tourists who have already arrived into the RoK, Japan, Italy and Iran, travel agencies should change the itinerary to keep the tourists away from disease-hit areas or crowded sites. The tourists are advised to shorten travel time and strictly follow epidemic prevention rules of host countries.
As the RoK and Japan are two tourism markets of Vietnam, travel firms should work closely with their foreign partners to carry out regulations on disease prevention and control, as well as provide good services for the visitors, thus building good and long-term relations with Korean and Japanese firms.
Earlier, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism estimated that the COVID-19 epidemic could cause losses of 5.9-7.7 billion USD for the domestic tourism sector in the next three months.
The tourism sector estimated a 90 percent decrease in the number of Chinese visitors due to the disease, and a 50-70 percent drop in holidaymakers from other countries.
Meanwhile, the number of domestic holidaymakers is likely to suffer a fall of 50-70 percent./.
Interpreters needed for health checks at border gates: Health Ministry
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has urged localities nationwide which are carrying out health checkups to send interpreters to support border regions in the face of the acute respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
All cities and provinces have been instructed to issue health declaration forms for people entering Vietnam from or transited in China or the Republic of Korea, the MoH said in a dispatch, as COVID-19 cases surge in the two countries and is likely to spread to other countries and territories, including Vietnam.
The form is available in English, Chinese and Korean. However, most border gates face a shortage of staff capable of reading these languages, making it difficult for officials to screen cases coming from countries with COVID-19 outbreaks.
Departments and offices of external affairs in all provinces and cities have been asked to join local steering boards in the prevention and control of the disease.
Additionally, local authorities have been tasked with working with relevant agencies to send interpreters to border gates to support health examinations.
Health officials in border regions are requested to create optimal conditions for the interpreters to work there.
Both Vietnamese and foreign airlines have suspended flights to South Korea until March as a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.
The national tourism sector is looking at ways to rebound in the second quarter of the year with strategies to promote growth after the COVID-19 epidemic subsides.