Hanoi (VNA) - In the post-pandemic period, travel firms should apply new mindset and approach customers in a new way through automatic systems, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technology in the new context, held experts.

A recent report on global tourism showed that the sector suffered a 22-percent drop in revenue in the first quarter of this year, and 87 percent in the second quarter, resulting in a decline of 65 percent in the first half of 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector has so far suffered an estimated loss of 440 billion USD. The World Tourism Association predicted that if the pandemic lingers on, the whole sector’s revenue will be reduced by 1 trillion USD and the number of tourists down by 1 billion.

In Vietnam, many travel firms have become bankrupted, while the remainders are facing exhausted conditions and on the brink of closing down, resulting in the unemployment of both employees and employers. No one can predict that the impacts of COVID-19 can be that serious.

Safety first

According to Vice Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Ha Van Sieu, to meet the demands of businesses, the second tourism promotion programme will be launched with a hope of speeding up the sector’s recovery late this year. Particularly, this time, safety will be placed at top position, he said.

Sieu held that attractive products will be a factor encouraging people to travel. He stressed the need for localities to build promotion packages and programmes as well as new tourism products.

Travel firms advised to optimise technology to adapt to COVID-19 situation hinh anh 1Vice Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Ha Van Sieu (Photo: Contributor)

“In the previous period, there were attractive products thanks to the coordination of service providers. This time, we should form an alliance to design interesting and flexible products with refund policy to win confidence of customers,” he stated.

He also lauded the activeness of localities, especially in making joint efforts to provide new tourism products, including a night tour to Hoa Lo former jail in Hanoi, Lao Cai and Yen Bai tours to explore terraced rice fields, and 100-billion-VND promotion programme of northern Quang Ninh province.

Meanwhile, Vice President of the Vietnam Tourism Association Vu The Binh commented that the sector has worked hard, and the first promotion programme was a success. But he held that old tools will be no longer useful in dealing with new difficulties.

“If another outbreak occurs in November or December, our efforts will come to nowhere. Therefore, we should implement promotion and think about longer-term solutions to deal with the pandemic’s impacts such as the adoption to the pandemic,” said Binh.

Travel firms advised to optimise technology to adapt to COVID-19 situation hinh anh 2Vu The Binh, Vice President of the Vietnam Tourism Association (Photo: Contributor)

Binh said that normal solutions such as offering discount or asking for support are not suitable in this situation anymore.

The expert advised them to change their mindset, seek customers in a new way through automated systems, using artificial intelligence, and approaching digital technology to develop themselves.

Support from local government

Earlier in May and June when the pandemic was effectively control inside the country, the VNAT launched the first market promotion, along with a series of measures, but they are no longer suitable in this context as in the second promotion, companies cannot cut price.

Binh said big companies should introduce new tourism products despite the number of tourists may not be large again soon.

According to Truong Quoc Hung, President of the UNESCO Travel Club of Hanoi said that the message of “safe and attractive” tourism given by the VNAT is completely match the current situation.

Travel firms advised to optimise technology to adapt to COVID-19 situation hinh anh 3Tourists pose for a picture at Fansipan Mountain in late May (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hung said that currently, safety has been ensured, but to become more attractive, tourism sector need the support of local government by reducing the fee in tourist destinations as well as tax and fees for travel firms.

Besides, experts also highlighted the need for the tourism sector to propose to the Government a number of support policies such as tax reduction and extension.

Meanwhile, local governments can assist firms by helping companies in human resources training, they added./.