Mekong Delta pins hopes on domestic tourism to fuel recovery hinh anh 1Tourists at the Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho city (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - Tourism authorities in the Mekong Delta are stepping up efforts to attract domestic visitors, with a focus on regaining trust so that they feel safe about going to tourist destinations and lodgings there.

The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Can Tho city has revealed plans for reviving tourism post-COVID-19 through promotional activities and numerous measures to ensure the health and safety of visitors.

Nguyen Minh Tuan, deputy director of the department, said the pandemic has caused the temporary closure of most travel and tourism businesses.

In the first quarter of the year the city received only 284,700 visitors, including 40,500 foreigners, a year-on-year drop of 59 percent.

Tourism revenues plummeted by 62 percent to 433.7 billion VND (18.5 million USD).

The department is coordinating with health authorities to advise travel agencies and tour operators, tourist sites and hotels on infection prevention measures, Tuan said.

It will closely monitor travel and tourism businesses for compliance with food safety and environmental protection regulations as part of efforts to promote the city as a safe, friendly and quality travel destination.

Domestic travel would be the core market for the next few months and safe destinations would be preferred during the recovery period, he said.

Authorities in An Giang province have ordered tourist sites and historic relics to strictly comply with infection prevention measures after reopening.

Disinfectant sprays, hand sanitisers, face masks, and safe physical distancing of at least one metre are mandatory requirements at tourist destinations.

Nguyen Khanh Hiep, Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said there were only 50,000 visitors during the four-day holidays from April 30 to May 3, a low number compared to last year.

But it indicated green shoots of recovery considering most popular tourist destinations nation-wide have been empty due to COVID-19 fears, Hiep said.

Speaking at an online meeting held by the Vietnam Tourism Association on May 6, Le Thanh Phong, Vice Chairman of the Mekong Delta Tourism Association, said the region is fully prepared to implement a campaign launched by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to revive the industry hardest hit by the pandemic.

A total of 33 hotels, restaurants and tourist sites in the delta have registered to join the campaign, which offers discounts of 20-40 percent on tours and services, he said.

The Mekong Delta Tourism Association is working with the HCM City Tourism Association to organise farm trips to tourist destinations in the delta, he said.

Mauro Gasparotti, director of Savills Hotels Asia Pacific, said: “It is the local market that represents the first stage of recovery. Following Vietnamese Government regulations on social distancing, a majority of hotels and resorts in Vietnam have been closed but most are planning to reopen in May with attractive local promotions.

“However, people are likely to remain sceptical about flying and the safety of crowded airports, so it may take a little longer to feel comfortable boarding planes.

“The large number of local travellers and Vietnamese outbound tourist numbers, which reached 10 million in 2018, are all great metrics to rely on for a solid re-start”./.