Hanoi (VNA) – As the COVID-19 pandemic remains tense around the world, Vietnam has begun to “breathe a sigh of relief” as the country enters a post-social distancing period. Travel companies have also been swiftly re-activated to make new strategies to fuel domestic tourism demand.

Almost all tours and related services and programmes have been diversified with discounts of up to 50 percent.

Combo tours, travel vouchers mushroom

One of the trends that travel companies are following is “Free & Easy”, which provides services for small groups of tourists or family travellers at prices lower than usual.

Apart from traditional tour packages, “Free & Easy” and high-end combo tour travel vouchers have also been offered to serve modern holidaymakers.

Launching and offering discounts on a wide range of tourism packages, big travel firms affirmed that they always put health and safety for tourists above all while still ensuring service quality and providing a variety of travel options with flexible schedules for their clients to choose.

Pham Van Bay, Deputy Director of Vietravel Hanoi, previously said that his business had offered mainly package tours, but now it also provides hotel, transportation, and flight ticket booking services for small tourist groups.

“This is the best time for travellers to enjoy four- and five-star services at extremely reasonable prices thanks to discounts of up to 50 percent. Insiders like us have never seen such ideal prices in the market. Domestic visitors can experience high-end services at low cost and enjoy heartfelt care,” he noted.

Travel firms move to stimulate demand as social distancing ends hinh anh 1Travellers wait to check-in at a hotel in Quy Nhon city, central Binh Dinh province, on the South Liberation and National Reunification Day (April 30) holiday (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Though COVID-19 has battered the global tourism industry, including in Vietnam, the Vietravel representative held that one positive impact of the pandemic is that it has given businesses like Vietravel some time to restructure their human resources and develop new products to meet visitors’ demand.

Marketing Director of Saigontourist Doan Thi Thanh Tra said her company will regularly organise domestic tours for clients in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hue, Hai Phong, and Hanoi. Tourists can book high-end hotel rooms for a price 30 - 50 percent cheaper than the normal, down to from 880,000 VND - 5.5 million VND per person.

Daily tours by road have also had their prices cut by 20 - 30 percent compared to the normal. Tours by air for June that use services of Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet have also been discounted by 12 percent.

Travel firms move to stimulate demand as social distancing ends hinh anh 2Phuong Mai Bay, one of the new tourist destinations in Quy Nhon city (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Accounting for weather difficulties

Nguyen Thi Xuan Lan, Vice Chairwoman of the Binh Dinh Tourism Association and CEO of the Golden Life Travel Quy Nhon, said the south-central coastal province of Binh Dinh has attracted a large number of visitors recently.

Travel companies, hotels, and restaurants in Quy Nhon have resumed operation. Meanwhile, most of the association’s member businesses pay attention to post-social distancing demand stimulus, so they have agreed on profit reduction to boost domestic travel, she noted.

She added that the Binh Dinh Tourism Association is also working with travel companies to launch new packages with strong discounts, unchanged quality and diverse experiences to attract tourists.

The tourism sector entered a new stage as Vietnam temporarily controlled the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Not just businesses in Binh Dinh, but enterprises of all sizes across the country are well aware that they need to coordinate with one another to weather the difficulties, according to Lan.

Travel firms move to stimulate demand as social distancing ends hinh anh 3A group of tourists poses for a photo in front of the Mother Suot statue in the central province of Quang Binh prior to the COVID-19 outbreak (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Insiders stressed the necessity for both domestic and inbound tour operators to join hands with related service providers. In a period full of difficulties, tourism can thrive again only when travellers are offered good products at reasonable prices.

The UN World Tourism Organisation recently predicted that COVID-19 will lead to a plunge of 20 - 30 percent in the number of international tourists around the world, a rate much higher than the figures following the 9/11 event in 2001, the SARS outbreak in 2003, and the 2008 financial crisis.

As a result, tourist behaviours will also change, with domestic tourism recovering first, followed by outbound and inbound tourism. European and American travellers often plan their holidays between six months and one year beforehand, so Vietnam will see the latest recovery in visitors from these markets.

As social distancing measures begin to tail off, tourists are yet to regain their confidence, and travel companies yet to fully come back to life. Domestic visitors have started to arrange holidays by themselves. Businesses in the tourism industry need to create special products to stimulate demand, insiders said.

CEO of Eviva Tour Nguyen Thuy Duong said major travel firms have decided to set up groups on Facebook to connect with one another and discuss product development, marketing, communications, and service provision. In particular, they also reached consensus on product prices.

She expressed her hope that Vietnamese tourism will perform the necessary miracles to establish the country as a safe, friendly and responsible travel destination./.