Hospitality industry sees rosy signs after freeze due to COVID-19 hinh anh 1The domestic hospitality sector had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) – Apart from preparations for the pilot vaccine passport programme, the hospitality industry has worked to ensure safety for tourists in line with instructions of the Ministry of Health.  

The COVID-19 pandemic had forced nearly 90 percent of international travel companies, and thousands of others in Vietnam to close down, putting freeze on the hospitality sector.

However, rosy signs are now seen in the industry as the pandemic has been put under control in Vietnam, and the vaccination rollout is underway. Vaccine passports would allow Vietnam to welcome foreign holidaymakers back.

Accepting losses to maintain operations

Chairwoman of the Vietnam Hotel Association (VHA) Do Hong Xoan said over the past year, most of hotels, including six-star ones, have shut as Vietnam has maintained entry restrictions of foreign visitors.

Hospitality industry sees rosy signs after freeze due to COVID-19 hinh anh 2Lodging facilities in Vietnam are seeking ways to overcome difficulties caused by the pandemic. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

To stimulate domestic tourism, the VHA and relevant associations have launched promotion programmes at major tourism centres across the country by improving service quality and reducing prices, even gaining no profits, she said.

According to Xoan, the VHA has secured jobs for more than 5,000 labourers in big cities.

Hotels have also upgraded their equipment and improved the quality of their staff in terms of professional skills, foreign languages and management, in preparation for the return of international arrivals.

Hospitality industry sees rosy signs after freeze due to COVID-19 hinh anh 3Occupancy rate of hotels drops to only 10-15 percent due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

To support lodging facilities, the VHA has raised proposals to the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism that will forward the proposals to the Government.

However, hotels are now struggling to stay afloat only as Vietnam has yet to open its borders to international tourists.

She suggested stepping up the implementation of the Politburo’s Resolution No. 08 on turning tourism into an economic spearhead, issued in 2018, to reboot the hospitality sector and tourism industry at large.

Hospitality industry sees rosy signs after freeze due to COVID-19 hinh anh 4Domestic tourism has been seen as the lifebuoy of the whole industry (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Ready to ensure safety for tourists

Xoan said since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, a working group in charge of tourism promotions has been established, bringing together representatives from the VHA, VITA, the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA), air carriers and concerned agencies.

The promotion programmes have helped to ease difficulties for lodging facilities and travel companies, she added.

Xoan informed that there will be a forum in the northern province of Ninh Binh on April 14-15, where representatives from hotels and travel firms will seek ways to boost domestic tourism.

Hospitality industry sees rosy signs after freeze due to COVID-19 hinh anh 5The hospitality sector will revive soon. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Xoan affirmed that the tourism industry has prepared plans as well as human resources to ensure safety for holidaymakers in accordance with instructions of the  Ministry of Health.

As the country has closed its borders to nearly all foreign arrivals since late March last year to contain the pandemic and implemented strict quarantine protocols, the number of visitors arriving by air, land, and sea has fallen substantially.

In 2020, the number of international tourists fell nearly 80 percent compared to 2019, while domestic travellers halved and the number of outbound tourists plunged 90 percent.

Most arrivals have been foreign experts, diplomats, and technical workers working for Vietnamese projects or drivers bringing goods through border gates, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The sector’s total revenue was 312.2 trillion VND (13.5 billion USD), down nearly 60 percent.

During the year, 338 foreign travel agents asked that their business licenses be withdrawn, a three-fold rise against 2019, while 201 businesses applied for new licenses, down by one-third./.

Hospitality industry sees rosy signs after freeze due to COVID-19 hinh anh 6Chairwoman of the Vietnam Hotel Association (VHA) Do Hong Xoan (Photo: VietnamPlus)