COVID-19 takes toll on tourism in first half hinh anh 1Ha Long Bay (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - The COVID-19 pandemic brought down the number of foreign visitors to Vietnam to close to 3.7 million in the first half of the year, a 57 percent decline year-on-year. 

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), domestic tourists also fell in number, by nearly 50 percent to 23 million. Average occupancy at lodging facilities was about 20 percent.

Tourism revenue was estimated to have tumbled 48 percent year-on-year to 176.8 trillion VND (7.6 billion USD).

VNAT reported that the pandemic forced 95 percent of travel companies nationwide to cease operations during the first half, with a large number of people losing their jobs as a result.

To give the sector a much-needed boost, at the beginning of May the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism launched the “Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam” campaign, which has been very much welcomed by localities and companies around the country. 

Two months on, the number of domestic flights has recovered while a number of new routes have been launched. Occupancy has increased to 50-60 percent on weekdays and to 80-90 percent on weekends. The number of domestic travellers in June totalled 7 million, a 2.3-fold rise against May.

At a conference reviewing the sector’s performance in the first half, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien urged the implementation of drastic measures to stimulate domestic tourism.

He also required that VNAT make preparation to resume international tourism activities once this is allowed./.