Floods fail to dampen tourist spirit

December 19, 2018 | 14:59
Last week’s heavy rains seriously flooded many areas in and around the cities of Danang and Hoi An. Some visitors attempted to create positives from the situation, and gained interesting experiences while the local authorities and business leaders work to ensure customers are safe during the horrible conditions caused by climate change and rising sea levels. Ngoc Thanh reports.
floods fail to dampen tourist spirit
Poor weather can actually enhance the travel experience for some, pushing them towards activities they would not usually spare time for

At My Khe, Son Tra, and Danang beaches tourists kept playing in the rain freely, and some even enjoyed the large waves by going surfing.

“I still feel satisfied with the fresh and airy atmosphere despite the bad weather and the heavy rain falling all day and night,” said Thai Nguyen, a tourist from Hanoi.

Le Hai, a hotel security guard on Vo Nguyen Giap street, shared that the bad downpours and choppy waters could not prevent tourists from swimming and surfing, even though local authorities had released warning messages.

In Hoi An ancient town French couple Daniel and Diana, who visited Vietnam for the first time, were very curious when witnessing the flooded streets. Although caught in a storm and fully aware of the negative conditions, they still rented a motorbike to drive around flooded areas and along the coastal landslide of Cua Dai Beach while the rain thundered down. “I have never experienced this before,” said Daniel.

Despite locations such as Danang and Hoi An experiencing treacherous conditions, the streets and beaches were still crowded with tourists playing and swimming. In hotels and resorts in the area, the number of foreign tourists did not fall as much as many predicted.

Accoding to Nguyen Van Son, Deputy Chairman of the Hoi An People’s Committee, though the bad weather affected the town’s regular cultural activities, there was still a crowd of tourists with a total occupancy rate of 70 per cent.

Tran Hoan, marketing manager of Hoi An Royal Hotel, a five-star hotel managed by AccorHotels Group, said that it was business as usual. “This is peak season in Hoi An, and foreigners are still bustling here, especially those from European countries. They often plan their trip very early in advance so despite the bad weather, they still arrive as scheduled,” she said.

Nguyen Duc Quynh, deputy general director of Furama Resort Danang told VIR that the heavy rain did not seriously affect the hotel’s occupancy. His resort’s restaurant was more crowded than usual because guests remained inside the resort to explore and taste local specialties while enjoying the rain. “One of our South African guests shared that he had not seen rain in a long time because it rarely rains as hard in his hometown as it can here.”

However, Furama has also taken various precautions and careful preparations to cope with the bad weather by tightening security on a 24/7 basis.

Although the operation of hotels and resorts around the region has not suffered seriously bad effects, the weather did have an impact on the infrastructure and transportation systems as well as business around nearby areas. The authorities and people of Danang are now racing against time to deal with the aftermath of widespread flooding caused by prolonged torrential rain. The intention, as always, is to help to re-establish normalcy in the lives of local inhabitants, and ensure suitable environmental sanitation and protecting the urban landscape.

floods fail to dampen tourist spirit
floods fail to dampen tourist spirit
Each year, Vietnam’s central region is victim to floods of increasing severity, as the onsetting climate change raises water levels, Photo: Quoc Viet

TOURISM SECTOR ACTS AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE

The seasonal storms and accompanying floods are largely exacerbated by climate change and rising water levels around the world.

Urging climate reform in the tourism sector, experts have warned that climate change could have disastrous consequences for not only central coastal tourism, but for most hotspots around Vietnam and the world. Therefore, at the recent COP24 in Poland, the World Travel & Tourism Council and UN Climate Change (UNCC) highlighted the role of travel and tourism in attaining a carbon neutral world by 2050.

“As a major world sector, tourism stands ready to play its part in this bright future,” said UNCC executive secretary Patricia Espinosa. “It is about transforming your businesses to be part of a global economic shift – one marked by sustainable growth and powered by renewable energy.”

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