|Vietnam’s businesses ready to welcome new tourists, Photo: Le Toan |
Despite the heavy losses, Vietravel, one of the largest travel agencies in Vietnam, confirmed that it can resume operations as soon as possible. Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, deputy general director of Vietravel, said that the company has focused on training all its employees, who are now fully vaccinated to ensure the safety of both them and customers.
Vietravel has been cooperating with some localities to build self-contained products for domestic tourists.
Programmes to welcome foreign experts, overseas Vietnamese, and international visitors eligible for entry according to Vietnam’s regulations will also be promoted by the company in the near future thanks to its own airline that specialises in charter flights at good prices.
In addition, Vietravel also cooperates with restaurants and hotels to build tourism products with competitive prices, ready to outrun other destinations in the region such as Phuket and Bali.
Similarly, Sun Group also announced its readiness to serve tourists, especially international tourists to Phu Quoc, where there are many high-end resort projects of the group.
“We understand better than anyone the difficulties that tourism businesses have suffered during the past two years. But we have always prepared strategies and plans to serve customers in all situations instead of waiting until we are allowed to reopen,” said a representative of Sun Group.
In addition to staff training and practising safe welcoming procedures, Sun Group has been renovating its facilities and upgrading service quality, as well as adding new experiences at its resorts and entertainment complexes.
In recent times, Sun World Fansipan Legend resort, the most famous destination in Sapa, has remained quiet. But still, the attraction has put on a new dress with warm red colours. Sun Group has successfully planted crocosmia on the top of Fansipan at an altitude of 3000m, where there are harsh natural conditions.
Down south, hotels and entertainment projects on Phu Quoc are also prepared to welcome guests in November. Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park marine entertainment complex has now added countless trees and bushes, and the Hon Thom cable car system has been maintained and cleaned.
After the pilot programme to welcome international tourists to Phu Quoc, some other famous tourist destinations such as Nha Trang, Con Dao, Danang, and Hoi An could pilot international arrivals and open tourism, travel, and hotel businesses.
Le Van Nghia, director of Nhat Minh Travel JSC, said that the company plans to operate six international flights from Russia to Cam Ranh in December, carrying about 200 passengers each as soon as the firm can obtain the permission from the government as well as the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam.
Nghia said that Russia is considered a traditional market for Vietnam’s tourism industry. Currently, his company has expanded to welcome arrivals from 10 other Russian cities and is capable of organising 20 passenger flights from Russia to Cam Ranh each week.
“The current challenge is to have specific criteria to ensure safety of tourists,” Nghia said.
Ha Kim Hong, director of Vinpearl Resort and Spa Nha Trang Bay shared that the business is planning to coordinate with airlines to welcome tourists to Khanh Hoa, though these would be limited in their movement and could only stay at the resorts.
For international visitors with vaccine passports who are allowed to come to Vietnam, Vinpearl Nha Trang will cooperate with Vietjet and Vietravel to launch a 3-night stay package and a 4-night quarantine package. Visitors will return home with charter flights and a frequency of 1-3 flights per week, carrying 150-225 visitors each.
For domestic tourists, Vinpearl has applied for a pilot programme to welcome domestic tourists (including foreigners staying in Vietnam) and transport them with charter flights to Vinpearl Resort & Spa Long Beach Nha Trang, with about 2-3 flights per week.
Scott Hodgetts - General manager Sheraton Saigon Hotels & Towers
We have been focusing on takeaway services to keep serving our customers. We also advocate the Marriott Bonvoy on Wheels campaign of Marriott International to promote restaurant-quality cuisine to be delivered to people’s homes.
We have also followed strictly all government regulations to ensure that we could protect our guests, our associates, and our business.
We have supported our associates by taking good care of them physically and psychologically. For on-duty staff, we have organised healthy meals, provided vitamins, and kept engaging them by holding virtual reward celebrations, sharing positive news, and sending e-cards to say thank you. We have also implemented financial support for employees and their families, paid in cash, as well as covered their meals and medical treatments.
We will continue to invest in training sessions, personal protective equipment, and a safe work environment with comprehension, flexibility, adaptability, and empathy.
With the increasing vaccinations in Vietnam, we are thankful that the government has a clear direction to recover tourism. The industry has shown its resilience and capacity to rebound. So, we must all adapt to the new rules, standards, and values which have shaped the future of the hospitality industry.
Pham Thi - Thanh Huong deputy general director Flamingo Hospitality Management JSC
As one of major tourism and hospitality companies, we have faced many challenges posed by the pandemic. During recent times, Flamingo temporarily stopped receiving customers for disease control. Despite suffering considerable economic losses, this is also an opportunity for Flamingo to review the system and maintain and improve service quality, ready for a comeback.
Social distancing doesn’t mean treading water, as we still implement an effective work-from-home strategy in most departments. This is also the time for us to review all of our business activities, optimise costs and resources, and restructure the organisation and customer segments. Online training courses are also continuously organised to update information and improve the performances of all employees.
Currently, Flamingo Dai Lai and Flamingo Cat Ba have been allowed to welcome domestic tourists according to the instructions of local authorities. All staff working directly at our resorts have been fully vaccinated from COVID-19 and always strictly follow the 5K message of the Ministry of Health, and perform rapid testing periodically.
We fully support the government’s policy to apply the vaccine passport and the plan to welcome international tourists who have received two doses of the vaccine to some safe destinations in Vietnam.
Vu The Binh - Vice president Vietnam Tourism Association
Restoring tourism in the current context is still facing many difficulties, including the issue of ensuring visitors’ safety with the variety of different policies in each locality. Many localities are very active in tourism, considering it as a tool to restore the economy, but other are too afraid of a repeated resurgence of the pandemic.
Transportation is also a challenge. Airlines are not able to carry out normal domestic flights, though I know that they have submitted plans to reopen domestic routes. Meanwhile, many travel businesses also share their plans to charter private flights to serve tourists.
But, we should start with road vehicles such as caravans. This would ensure everyone’s safety, and the destinations will also feel safer because they don’t have to serve large groups of visitors.
The tourism industry needs to quickly unify safety criteria at all stages including accommodation, meals, transportation, and destinations. Only businesses and destinations that meet the requirements are allowed to operate.
I believe that once there are clear standards and regulations, the stimulus programme will receive positive responses from many businesses.
Dang Bao Hieu - Chairman Ana Marina Nha Trang
Opening for international tourists to Phu Quoc is a good sign, but in my opinion, we should not be too dependent on the international market at this time. The domestic tourist market will be key in the future, so the tourism industry needs to have a more open attitude to domestic tourism.
In addition, we might not be able to welcome many international visitors to Phu Quoc, also because it is not clear which markets and lines of visitors will like the island. Will international guests choose Phu Quoc to travel while they have many other options that are cheaper and more comfortable? If you prepare everything for many guests, and then just a few come, it would be a waste.
Phu Quoc is very suitable destination for domestic tourism. I think we should build the island into a safe destination for Vietnamese people first. Domestic visitors will help enterprises on Phu Quoc maintain operations. When foreigners see that Phu Quoc is safe and Vietnamese people have travelled comfortably, overseas tourists could become more interested and want to travel to Vietnam.
Although Ana Marina has previously focused on international guests, we are ready to convert our products to serve domestic customers.