Foreign tourists visit HCMC - PHOTO: DAO LOAN

Effective infection prevention

A few days ago, Australia-based 7News channel praised Vietnam’s efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, noting that Vietnam has led the way in protecting its citizens.

Thanks to the Government’s adoption of several drastic measures and citizens’ compliance, Vietnam, despite its large population of nearly 100 million and geographic proximity to China, has recorded only 300 infections and zero deaths.

Many international magazines and news agencies such as FAZ (Germany), The Nation (the United States), (Russia), Liberation, Ouest-France and Le Point (France) have also written about Vietnam’s response to Covid-19.

According to many firms, these positive reports are a major advantage for Vietnam in reopening to tourists as it helps the country become better known and lets tourists feel more secure when visiting Vietnam.

Tran Thi Thanh Tam, operator of Chez Mimosa hotels in HCMC, stated that pictures of Vietnam viewed abroad are positive. In online expat forums, questions are being raised on when they can return to Vietnam as the country has lifted social distancing restrictions.

Vietnam, which is already known for beautiful landscapes and diverse cultures, is now known for its effective response to Covid-19. Thus, the tourism industry might recover quickly, according to Tam.

Echoing this view, Nguyen Son Thuy, director of Indochina Unique Tourist, remarked that Vietnam’s effective fight against the virus has left a good impression, which will help in promoting the national brand and the country’s tourism sector.

Meanwhile, prices and improved services in the aftermath of the pandemic are two other advantages offered by Vietnam’s tourism sector. Many businesses and localities are partnering to stimulate domestic travel and might continue to do so when international tourists return.

The experience gained in safely serving domestic tourists before the pandemic is over will help service providers offer better service to international tourists.

American magazine Travel + Leisure recently listed 17 destinations to visit after Covid-19, featuring Vietnam and the Philippines as the two Asian representatives due to their landscapes, prices and beaches. 

Preparations should begin now

Vietnam’s tourism authority is considering plans to reopen, hoping to welcome tourists gradually by September.

Many firms believe that recovery plans should be prepared now, so everything will run smoothly when the time comes to execute these plans.

Nearby markets such as China and South Korea might recover sooner, but other markets might need more time, possibly even extending into next year, before they see considerable recovery.

According to Thuy of Indochina Unique Tourist, in the Southeast Asian market, many partners are waiting for the Government’s permission to send tourists to the country this July or August.

When travel conditions are loosened, tourists will come, Thuy stated.

Thuy added that consumption trends and tourist behavior will definitely change after the pandemic. Therefore, service suppliers should take into account hygiene issues when welcoming guests to prevent the transmission of the virus and give tourists a sense of safety.

According to a firm that wishes to remain anonymous, though it might take longer for European and Australian markets to recover, preparations should start now. Tourists might not be able to travel right now, but if attractive promotions for late 2020 or next year are presented, they will still make plans.

The firm is working with its partners in Australia to prepare for the influx of tourists. There might be room rate discounts of 20%-30% and several free services on offer.

Nguyen Van Khoa, general director of Mui Ne Bay Resort in Phan Thiet City, noted that specific preparations for travel recovery programs should be in hand soon. While preparations for health and safety could draw tourists’ attention, attractive services and prices will get them to make decisions.

“Our partner in Europe has yet to determine when they will be able to send guests, but they are working on programs preparing for tourist arrivals,” Khoa said. He added that prices are of special importance.

According to the Tourism Advisory Board, once countries are able to control the pandemic, the tourism industry should gradually open to tourists. The Government should use the visa-waiver program, which has been suspended since the start of the outbreak.

In addition, visa exemption for potential and stable markets such as Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada should be lengthened from 15 to 30 days.SGT

Dao Loan

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