Innovative Thinking for Post-COVID-19 Tourism

10:36:32 AM | 5/27/2020

Tourism is one of the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. But, losses during the epidemic period have also established new trends that change the mindset of those working in the hospitality industry.

In Vietnam, almost all tourism activities have paused since March. According to data from the General Statistics Office, international visitors to Vietnam fell 18.1% year on year to nearly 3.7 million in the first quarter. Domestic tourists reached 13 million, including 6.8 million visitors staying in hotels. The total tourist revenue was VND143.6 trillion in the quarter, down 18% from a year-ago period. According to experts, although there is uncertainty about the time for full recovery of the tourism industry, the pandemic has changed habits and created innovative thinking about tourism.

Recently, at the seminar on “Innovative Thinking for Post-COVID Tourism” organized by the Scientific Union of Sustainable Tourism Development (STDe), Dr. Nguyen Thu Hanh, President of STDe, affirmed that pandemic consequences on public psyche and the economy will create some new trends in tour planning.

In the post-pandemic era, 4.0 tourism will play a key role in tourism. Resort, convalescence and medical tourism, virtual world travel, wild nature discovery, clean and quiet environment (forest, sea and eco-tourism agriculture) and isolated tourism will develop strongly. This context also forces tour operators and service providers to change their mindsets and working approaches. However, no matter what tourism form is adopted, technology 4.0 or 5.0 will play a key role in operating these types of tourism services.

In addition, given current social distancing measures, traveling in small groups, in families or individually will be also popular. Fearing the pandemic and fearing unsafe environment will also change tourists' shopping, eating and consumption habits. For the time being, tourists use short-day, super-saving and super-promotional tours. At destinations, guaranteed safe and nutritious is a top concern. The STDe president also suggested businesses invest in tours with entirely new experiences that make people feel calm and optimistic before challenges and hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and of many other natural and social changes.

In addition, after the epidemic, domestic tourism is still focused and stimulated. Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also issued Plan 1749 to launch the program "Vietnamese people travel Vietnam", effective from June 1 to December 31, 2020. This solution aims to stimulate domestic tourism and facilitate people to travel to regions in the new normal context after the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, local tourism associations are working with partner airlines and businesses to scale up the domestic tourism stimulus program.

In addition, to meet tourists’ needs and new thinking, local tourism agencies need to invest more in market research and identify target tourists to promptly capture market trends, and diversify characteristic behaviors of target visitors, thus better boost market expansion, communication and product development in localities in particular and across the country in general.

In fact, many localities and businesses reopened tourist areas, offered discounts, free entrance tickets, and created very good, quality stimulus products. That helps warm up the market and visitors. After the COVID-19 epidemic, Vietnam’s tourism is expected to rise to a new level as business resistance has been raised. In addition, the tourism industry has also learned lessons to overcome difficulties, adopt creative thinking, make new investments, and have new perspectives on destinations and businesses.

By Ha Thu, Vietnam Business Forum