Groups step forward to aid tourism

July 16, 2021 | 12:13
Nearly 100,000 people in Vietnam’s tourism industry have registered to participate in and also contribute to the country’s vaccine socialisation programme, which is attempting to aid the recovery of the tourism industry.
Janssen is the sixth vaccine endorsed in Vietnam so far, after Astra Zeneca, Sputnik V, Pfizer, Vero Cell and Moderna. (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Janssen is the sixth vaccine endorsed in Vietnam so far, after Astra Zeneca, Sputnik V, Pfizer, Vero Cell and Moderna. Photo: AFP/VNA

Six Senses Con Dao was among the first to become a fully-vaccinated resort in Vietnam. All of its staff received their first vaccine dose in mid-June and second doses are expected to be administered this month.

Oxalis Adventure Tours – a company in Quang Binh operating tours to explore the jungle and the largest world’s largest cave – previously announced that 150 of 500 employees were vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Lam Minh Thanh, Chairman of Kien Giang People’s Committee, shared the plans to vaccinate the population of Phu Quoc Island to help reopen its doors to foreigners, which is hoped can be achieved in a few months if the model to welcome tourists to Phu Quoc Island with vaccine passports is successful.

Con Dao and Phu Quoc are the two most alluring island districts in the south of Vietnam, which have a population of 170,000 and 7,000 respectively. Before the pandemic, these were two favoured destinations by international tourists.

Although faced with a lot of difficulties due to the closure of both domestic and international tourism markets, many tourism businesses in Vietnam have expressed their wish to contribute to the vaccine fund to achieve herd immunity in the shortest time possible.

Representatives of many businesses said that strictly implementing the 5K message is not enough for tourism. For the industry to resume operations, vaccinations are key.

Tran Doan The Duy, general director of Vietravel said, “We have registered for vaccination for our officials, employees, and their families. If possible, we also want to register for vaccination for all customers. Vietravel is willing to pay for any costs for our employees and customers, and actively calls on staff to support the vaccine fund.”

The increased participation in the COVID-19 vaccine socialisation programme came after the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) issued a dispatch calling on local tourism associations and businesses to contribute.

VITA said that the cost of transporting, preserving, and organising the vaccination against COVID-19 for the whole country will surely reach tens of trillions of VND, therefore it would be necessary for tourism businesses to join in and pay for the vaccination of their workforces.

“The participation of enterprises in the socialisation of COVID-19 vaccines will contribute to speeding up the process of herd immunity, repelling the disease, reducing the burden of the state budget, and creating favourable conditions for the early restoration of the tourism industry,” said Vu The Binh, vice president of VITA.

Binh said that some of his partners in Europe have asked about the reopening plans of Vietnam’s tourism, but he could not provide any answers as Vietnam is still fighting the current wave and only about 1 per cent of the population has been vaccinated.

VITA also expects the government to cooperate with international partners, organisations, and brands to identify the fastest possible way to acquire vaccines.

According to Nguyen Manh Toan, deputy director of Communications of Vinacomin Tourism and Trading JSC, the company has a letter from VITA on the implementation of the vaccine socialisation programme.

“We are determined to accompany the government and sent an official dispatch to VITA to register for the vaccination of our employees at our expense,” Toan confirmed.

Hanoi Tourism Department said that many hotels are being approved by Hanoi People’s Committee as concentrated medical isolation, including Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Muong Thanh Grand Xa La, and Whyndham Garden Hanoi.

So far, many countries in which tourism is important for people’s livelihoods have vaccinated their tourism workers to welcome international tourists for the peak summer travel season.

The Maldives Minister of Health Shah Abdulla Mahir stated that over 65 per cent of the eligible population have received the vaccine and over 90 per cent of the tourism industry is vaccinated.

At the beginning of April, Turkey launched a vaccination campaign for professionals serving in the tourism sector, such as hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, airlines, and bus companies. Some other countries in ASEAN are also speeding up the vaccinations to pave the way for restoring economic sectors, in which tourism is one of the priorities.

Since June, Bangkok and Phuket administered about 500,000 shots per day. People working in tourism in Phuket were among the first groups to receive vaccinations after Thailand decided to reopen the island to foreign visitors.

Indonesia’s Bali also quickly implemented a vaccination programme and a further six million vaccine doses will be administered by the end of the July, the same time the island is expected to reopen to foreign tourists.

By Hoang Oanh

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