“Freezing” Tourism: Online Operation, Career Mobility

12:06:08 PM | 10/4/2020

Economic sectors have suffered severe damage from the Covid- 19 pandemic. Many businesses across industries have terminated or suspended operations, including those in tourism. But, this is also the time for entrepreneurship. Never accepting surrender, tourism businesses have quickly adopted job mobility and run online operations.

Job mobility

After nearly two months of ranging pandemic, many companies have become inactive and fired up to 80% of their staff. To survive, many businesses are temporarily adopting online working while others had to get involved in other businesses.

Mr. Nguyen Thanh An, Director of Thien Tam An Tourism Company, said the company had to switch to online property marketing training.

“When losing the Chinese market, tourism firms were still hoping to live through the tough time. But now all major markets are all closed at the same time. There is no way to manage and maintain operations. My company had to fire some employees and reduce salaries paid to existing ones because we found no other better way,” he said.

Le Cong Nang from Viet Tourism Company said, like many big travel companies, from January 2020, the company had to cancel thousands of tours and suffered heavy losses. Without enough jobs, the company had to arrange alternate jobs for employees, shift to other businesses and rotate jobs for employees. In the time of hardships for all, the company had to shift to distribute face masks and antibacterial hand sanitizers to generate more income for workers, but the company is always prepared to revive tourism with high-quality products when the plague is over.

Likewise, Ms. Hoang Quynh, Marketing Director of Oriental Sails Company and A Travel Mate Company, said: The pandemic seems increasingly complicated; countries are closing their international routes. There are no tourists at all. Most employees are out of work. Many are selling things through social networks. Many employees, especially salespeople, actively asked for no salary to share hardships with the company in this tough time. Currently, the company is paying 30-50% of salary to ensure a minimum standard of living for employees during this period.

“Hardships are faced by all enterprises. To maintain operations, our company has advocated online operations and intensive internal consolidation from the first days of epidemic outbreak. Reviewing and upgrading websites and online channels such as Facebook, YouTube, email marketing and social networks are maintained regularly and considered important during this time. Internal communication, solidarity consolidation and spiritual stimulation are focused to gather synergy to overcome this epidemic. We take an active part in communications on Covid 19 and build the trust of our employees and partners,” she said.

Rays of light

When the tourism industry is freezing, businesses cannot stop working and suspend operations, but start restructuring their business and fields of activity, training and streamlining staff to improve their performance. Many companies see this as a stage for long-term large projects.

Notably, on April 3, 2020, the Prime Minister issued Decision 457/QD-TTg on establishment of Vietravel Airlines. The airline has a total investment capital of VND700 billion and a lifespan of 50 years. In the first year, it will operate three aircraft and eight in the fifth year. The airline will be headquartered in Phu Bai International Airport based in Thua Thien Hue province. The tourism airline will help improve Vietnam's air transport capacity and boost tourism development and socioeconomic development in the context of international integration.

Hardship is also an opportunity for businesses to stand more strongly united and prepare for connecting and stimulating demand after the pandemic. Recently, Danang Tourism Promotion Fund (DTPF) was officially launched with a social operating model joined by tourism individuals and organizations in the city, including Ba Na Cable Car Service Joint Stock Company, Hoa Binh Co., Ltd - Da Nang Branch, Vinpearl Joint Stock Company - Da Nang Branch, DHC Investment Corporation, Silver Shores Investment and Development Co., Ltd, TravelMart Vietnam Joint Stock Company, and Tien Sa Viet Joint Stock Company. The fund conducts market research and product development to support tourism businesses to work effectively and create sustainable income for the community. In 2020, the fund planned to study Indian and Muslim travelers’ tastes, work with the Da Nang Department of Tourism and the Da Nang Tourism Association to launch the Danang Tourism Stimulation Program after the Covid-19 pandemic, coordinate with the Da Nang Tourism Promotion Center to organize the Danang Tourism Introduction Program in Australia, encourage direct flights from Melbourne to Da Nang, tentatively cooperate with the Vietnam International Tourism Fair in Da Nang and the TAAI Convention. Furthermore, this is also the time for businesses to focus on market research and distinctive product development.

Earlier, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said Covid-19 was forecast to cause US$5.9-7 billion loss in the tourism industry. But, in this context, entrepreneurship is shown most clearly. Importantly, the government and businesses are united to strengthen resilience to the epidemic and, at the same time, enhance business health by effectively managing human resources, product investment and career mobility to well prepare for the demand boom after the epidemic is over.

By Giang Tu, Vietnam Business Forum