Tourists enjoy local food in Hoi An ancient town - PHOTO: DAO LOAN

Enterprises operating in the travel and aviation sector proposed extending the summer vacation period and applying flexible work hours to stimulate travel demand.

This idea was raised by them at the “Solutions to promote domestic tourism as well as restore international tourism after Covid-19” conference, held by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Committee IV, Tourism Advisory Board and some other bodies on May 21.

Vo Anh Tai, deputy general director of Saigontourist Group, stated that the tourism sector is trying to attract domestic tourists. However, stimulation is not only about prices but also about promoting the markets and requires the extension of summer vacations.

Dinh Viet Phuong, deputy general director of VietJet Air, voiced the same opinion. According to Phuong, when Vietnam adopted the social distancing policy, the company’s transportation volume fell by 98%. All domestic routes have gradually been increased to serve the domestic market.

However, the company is concerned that shortening students’ summer holidays will heavily impact the tourism sector’s recovery.

“Summer and the Lunar New Year are the two most important holidays for airlines, so we need to find a solution to extend the summer vacations to stimulate tourism,” he remarked.

Some tourism businesses told the Saigon Times that their revenue from the summer season accounts for 30%-40% of their total annual revenue. They suggested tourism and education authorities should meet to discuss an appropriate vacation period.

Many schools plan to let students off for summer vacation from July 15, with classes resuming in early September as usual. But at the conference, some said the holiday should last until the end of September.

In addition, businesses also suggested flexible work schedules. Instead of having two days off each week, they recommended three days off during one week and one day off during alternate weeks, allowing employees time to travel easily. This is important not only for the tourism industry but also for the economy as a whole.

Whenever the tourism sector faces difficulties, stimulation is the main solution. With the end of the Covid-19 pandemic will come a series of stimulus programs, initially aimed at domestic tourists.

Many businesses were willing to reduce prices to rock bottom to attract more guests during lockdown. Some firms even accepted selling at a loss to be able to keep their businesses running.

Many tour operators and some airlines have offered steep discounts.

However, offering low prices to stimulate tourism is also a cost burden for businesses. Without a focus on quality, it creates unhealthy competition in the tourism industry.

According to Truong Phuong Thanh, deputy general director of Bamboo Airways, to stimulate travel demand, the airline currently only charges VND29,000 to VND190,000 per flight, excluding taxes and additional fees. During this difficult period, it is important to offer reasonable air fares to stimulate demand, rather than to lower the price without limit.

“With low prices, how many passengers must the enterprise serve to survive? We have to control it so that companies can still do business," he stressed.

Many businesses held similar opinions, noting that a price war in pursuing tourism stimulation should be avoided to maintain the quality of service and reputation of the destination.

In the coming days, the domestic tourism market will have better product packages to offer customers. In particular, Vietnam Tourism Association will provide 50,000 preferential air fare tickets, remarked Vu The Binh, the association’s vice president. SGT

Dao Loan

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