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|Turtle Tower on Hoan Kiem Lake, an icon of Hanoi (Photo: VNA)|
Hanoi – Facing the COVID-19 resurgence that is spreading fast and strongly affecting the entire society, travel firms in Hanoi are taking actions to minimise losses and prepare for recovery in the new context.
The start of the fourth coronavirus wave coincided with the National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day holidays, which has severely impacted the tourism sector, the Ha Noi Moi (New Hanoi) daily reported.
About 90 percent of customers cancelled their booked tours slated for May and early June while programmes stimulating travel demand in summer, expected to be the “golden season” for tourism businesses, have yet to begin due to the complex COVID-19 situation in many provinces and cities.
In the face of those difficulties, many enterprises have adopted new business forms.
VietFoot Travel has switched to providing transportation services, mostly handling visa application procedures, seeking flights, and arranging coaches, for foreign experts and overseas Vietnamese since the beginning of 2021.
Its director Pham Duy Nghia said though the number of customers is not big, these services have proved helpful for the company to sustain its operations and retain employees.
Director of AZA Travel Nguyen Tien Dat noted as tourism activities have been suspended, his firm has assigned several staff members to work in the field of beverage manufacturing.
VietSense, another travel company, has had part of its employees running a restaurant which only sells takeaways to comply with COVID-19 prevention and control rules, Director Nguyen Van Tai said, adding that this restaurant can help supply travel services when its customers have demand.
However, the Ha Noi Moi daily noted, the moves taken by many travel firms are just temporary solutions.
To shore up the local tourism sector amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the Hanoi Tourism Association recently held a teleconference gathering nearly 30 businesses to seek solutions.
Vice chairwoman of the association Trinh Thi My Nghe recommended that since the current outbreak is more dangerous and spreading faster than the previous ones, travel enterprises should have plans to “live with the pandemic” and resume tourism activities in a new form that meets both anti-COVID-19 requirements and travellers’ demand.
Phung Quang Thang, Chairman of the Hanoi Branch of the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents and Director of Hanoitourist, said to resume tourism activities, authorities need to seal off pandemic-hit areas and publicise the ones “safe” for visitors.
Only when Hanoi and other localities ease restrictions on certain activities can tourism be resumed, he said, noting that tourism activities should only be carried out in a small scale with a controlled number of visitors.
Service suppliers should suggest travellers come to “safe” destinations and enjoy leisure tourism instead of adventure or experimental tourism, Thang added.
Meanwhile, Director of Pattours Vu Giang Bien held that businesses need to step up applying digital technology into the development of new products as well as the management of tourists’ health and health declarations.
Tourism workers should also be vaccinated against COVID-19, which will help travellers feel at ease and the industry secure long-term safety, Bien said.
The Hanoi Department of Tourism has devised a plan of activities for the second half of this year.
Its director Dang Huong Giang said the department is working to improve the quality of tourism products and destinations and preparing for this year’s gift, tourism, and “ao dai” festivals.
Once the outbreak is basically brought under control, the department will submit proposals to the municipal administration so as to identify “safe” areas and localities for travel, thereby helping enterprises create their tourism service plans, she said.
As safety must be prioritised during tourism recovery and development, relevant parties need to seriously comply with anti-pandemic rules, proactively tackle difficulties, and work out solutions for each COVID-19 response plan, Giang noted.