Tourism workforce struggle with COVID-19 ‘tsunami’ hinh anh 1Workers in the tourism sector experience four COVID-19 waves (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)   

Hanoi (VNA) – The COVID-19 pandemic has forced workforce in the tourism sector to change jobs to earn their living. In order to survive four outbreak waves, they have to run about to make ends meet.

So far, the “COVID-19 tsunami” has ravaged Vietnam’s green economy. Workers in supporting areas such as tourism services, restaurants and hotels have to change their jobs to earn their living as motorbike taxi drivers, shippers or online salespersons. A number of CEOs even shifted to making and selling beer, producing masks, exporting farm produce and distributing yogurt.

Industry players, who try to get by everyday on the one hand, are awaiting feasible measures from leaders to save the non-smoking industry from troubles caused by COVID-19.

Article 1: Tourism workforce struggle with start-ups

On hot June days, Trung’s face became red and his back was covered with sweat. As eateries in Hanoi are only allowed take-away, he has to ship to customers if many orders come in. N. T. Trung used to be a guide for outbound tours. On a new journey of making a living, some meet advantages, some not.

New journeys

Sometimes, D.H.V, a tour guide from one of the country’s leading travel companies, posted messages on social media such as “Thank everyone for supporting me to overcome COVID-19”, “COVID-19 makes my hairs gray. Call me if you want to go to the countryside, airport, or on holiday. Clean car and support for check-in photos are available”.

Tourism workforce struggle with COVID-19 ‘tsunami’ hinh anh 2A tour guide works at a time when COVID-19 has yet to appear (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Though dark circles appear under his eyes, his sense of humour remains in his blood even in difficult times.

As a guide for China tours, D.H.V has been out of work since the pandemic outbreak. He later switched to selling goods online such as Tibetan cordyceps sinensis and aloes wood. However, not many people could afford such premium products amid the pandemic so that the orders became “on and off”. He was forced to find another job to earn his living.

With a car, he decided to work as a driver of Grab hailing services because he was familiar with destinations. But as a saying goes “Misfortune never comes alone”, he faced the fact that many families turn to self-driving services to save costs, resulting in instability in his income.

Not lucky enough to have “sideline jobs” and physique like D.H.V, D.T.Anh, a hotel owner in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, decided to set up her own business in early 2019 after many years of working as an employee and accumulating enough capital.

Tourism workforce struggle with COVID-19 ‘tsunami’ hinh anh 3A hotel in Hanoi's Old Quarter is closed when the pandemic breaks out (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Despite hardships on the onset, she rushed in building workforce and running the hotel with enthusiasm and “start-up” spirit. It did not take long for the hotel to run smoothly when the COVID-19 took a hit. Thinking that she could survive the first, then the second outbreaks thanks to provision fund, now everything have completely collapsed.

When the second outbreak subsided, she switched to serving Vietnamese guests, but the occupancy rate was about 20-30 percent while the maximum was 60-70 percent on holiday. If things stayed the same, she would incur more debts for sure, given that room rates halved, resulting in low revenues.

After sleepless nights, Anh decided to give up. That petite woman took a step back to complete her unfinished mission: motherhood.

Starting up business amid COVID-19

It could be said that COVID-19 is a nightmare for tourism workers, but also presents opportunities for those who dare to venture and accept challenges with a cold head and a hot heart.

Tourism workforce struggle with COVID-19 ‘tsunami’ hinh anh 4A customer checks in front of Trung's shop (Photo: VietnamPlus)

As a food lover, N.T.Trung used to try many unique dishes when working as a tour guide abroad. Seeing that Vietnamese street food is the best, he decided to open a small shop selling bread with roasted pork and centella juice.

Trung was alone with a backpack and wandered around the famous bread shops in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, watching how sellers make it.

Tourism workforce struggle with COVID-19 ‘tsunami’ hinh anh 5Trung's shop chain offers stable jobs to students (Photo: VietnamPlus)

“In late 2020, I began to open the second shop and earned more stable income. Now I have four shops and offer franchise service with Trube trademark, creating jobs for over 30 workers”, he said.

Each day, he sells about 600-700 breads and 1,700-1,800 glasses of centella juice in summer, and 600 – 700 glasses in winter.

He added that he paid workers little higher salaries and retained them by sincere and kind treatment.

Trung has so far found a new joy of generating jobs for tens of poor students in Hanoi, assisting them in accommodation, and shipping food to customers.

Tourism workforce struggle with COVID-19 ‘tsunami’ hinh anh 6Bread with roasted pork (Photo: VNA)

“Little fishes” like Trung, Anh or D.H.V struggled to find their own ways when the COVID-19 storm hit the country. Though be successful or not, they all feel lucky because they are still healthy enough to continue “fighting”./.