Recurrence of COVID-19: Travel companies need to join hands to solve crisis hinh anh 1Disinfecting Hoi An town (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) – After three months free of COVID-19, the return of the pandemic has forced many localities to close their tourist sites again, and travel businesses have to join hands in dealing with the crisis.

The tourism sector seemed to thrive back thanks to a domestic tourism stimulus programme, but once again, the complicatedly developing COVID-19 pandemic blew away all recovery efforts of the tourism industry in the past three months.

In recent days, many provinces and cities across the country had to announce the suspension of tourist sites to ensure safety for visitors.

Various localities “close doors” again

Immediately after Da Nang city – the pandemic epicenter - declared social distancing measures, many other localities such as Quang Ninh, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa and Kien Giang issued dispatches on the urgent suspension of tourism activities.

The Tourism Departments of Hanoi and northern Quang Ninh province asked travel companies to stop tours to and serving visitors from localities which have reported COVID-19 infections, and promptly report authorized agencies when there are problems involved in tourists.

In the central region, the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control of Thua Thien-Hue province also required trade and service business facilities, and relic and tourist sites to implement measures to ensure safe disease prevention and control. It also requested localities to intensify inspections and punishments against those who do not wear face masks to increase public awareness.

In addition to implementing disease prevention measures, the People’s Committee of southern Kien Giang province recently assigned the provincial Department of Tourism to guide units offering tours to Da Nang city to consult visitors to change their schedules and select alterative destinations.

Recurrence of COVID-19: Travel companies need to join hands to solve crisis hinh anh 2A hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter closes when COVID-19 breaks out again (Photo: VietnamPlus).

Meanwhile, the People's Committee of Khanh Hoa province issued an urgent document, requesting the suspension of large public gatherings, especially weddings and funerals; asking local people to wear face masks, keep distance with others, and regularly wash hands. The province also halted crowded gatherings along Nha Trang beach as well as cultural festivals.

Businesses fight till the last penny

Last weekend, as soon as the pandemic returned, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong recorded the cancelation of 16,000 hotel room bookings in Da Lat city.

According to the Hanoi Department of Tourism, from July 28-30, 7,503 customers of 22 travel companies in the capital city canceled their domestic tours to many tourist destinations across the country.

Representatives of travel companies said that it is normal for customers to cancel their tours to localities hit by the pandemic, and even places without any infections. Therefore, handling the crisis, solving the requests to postpone, cancel or delay the tours to ensure the interests of parties and ensure disease prevention and control are what travel companies need to do right now.

Phung Quang Thang, President of the Hanoi Society of Travel Agents and Director of Hanoitourist company, said that it is time for the engagement of relevant parties, especially travel companies, airlines and service providers to jointly solve the crisis.

Recurrence of COVID-19: Travel companies need to join hands to solve crisis hinh anh 3Souvenir shops on Hang Gai street close (Photo: VietnamPlus).

Thang suggested airlines to have specific policies on refunding or delaying flights for group passengers, and advised accommodation facilities to help those who are unable to travel at this time do it at a different time with unchanged prices./.

Box: Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the global tourism industry posted losses of 320 billion USD in the first five months of 2020, three times higher than the figure in the global financial crisis in 2009. The figure was released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization on July 28.