Joint Efforts to Stimulate Tourism

11:28:03 AM | 5/28/2020

People are ready to travel again as social distancing measures are eased, and they are very keen on short-term tours to places near their residences. To stimulate tourism, travel businesses need to work together with airlines, hotel owners and destination operators to launch interesting products and preferential packages for tourists.

According to a research by the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) and partners, tourism trends of Vietnamese people have changed after the social distancing period. Accordingly, 50% of tourists are ready to travel again. Most of them are concerned about safety and preferences. 67% want to go to the beach. In particular, many people are interested in short tours near their living places and more than 70% want to go with small groups like families and friends. Besides, most tourists want to book a tour directly with suppliers. Specifically, 14% want to book a service with travel companies and 62.1% want to go independently.

Therefore, travel businesses need to link with airlines, hotels and tourist attractions to launch interesting tourism products and preferential packages for tourists.

“Vietnam’s tourism can only recover when the entire industry works together to launch stimulus. All companies, localities and destinations must join hands to introduce attractive product packages of premium service quality and affordable prices to attract tourists in the context of economic downturn and public austerity,” Mr. Le Quang Tung, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism emphasized.

Some affiliated programs have been launched in the current period. For example, Sun Group has joined hands with the Sapa Town People's Committee and the Sapa Tourism Association to launch a big promotion with those operating in travel, transport, hotel and restaurant business in Sa Pa Town, pledging to slash service fees by 30-60%. Sun World amusement parks, hotels and resorts have also launched programs to stimulate demand for domestic tourists.

Mr. Nguyen Quoc Ky, General Director of Vietravel, said, “We have persuaded chairpersons of Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang and Quang Nam provinces to sign commitments to reduce service prices in the three provinces.”

Sharing the same view on business linkages, Mr. Truong Phuong Thanh, Deputy General Director of Bamboo Airways, expressed, “Bamboo Airways wishes to enter into cooperation with other units. In 2019, Bamboo cooperated with Vingroup and Vietravel to create cohesion and bring good prices to customers and stimulate the industry.”

Not only reducing costs and increasing service quality, businesses also need to agree on and share activities to build a sustainable domestic tourism market and avoid causing market interference.

Ms. Nguyen Van, Deputy General Director of Hanoitourist, also proposed: "We need to buy and sell together to avoid disturbing the market, avoid causing anxiety and hesitance among customers because our stimulus time is not too long. Besides, we must ensure our business quality and performances.”

“80% of airline customers are tourists. We have slashed prices and increased commitments. All must join hands to stay strong because small businesses are very vulnerable and likely to go bankrupt if price cuts are deep and long,” said Mr. Le Quang Tung.

For the time being, domestic tourism stimulus is essential and urgent. Given that the spending of domestic visitors is usually much lower than foreigners, many companies advocate reopening the doors to welcome international tourists to increase revenue to restore the tourism industry. To do that, businesses and authorities need measures to ensure safety for tourists and residents, and have very good communications to spread the word that Vietnam is a safe destination for tourists.

Mr. Craig Douglas, Vice Chairman of Lodgis Hospitality Holdings, suggested: “Vietnam is being well positioned as it has successfully controlled the Covid-19. The world needs to know this message. Vietnam needs to be positioned as a safe haven. We must act quickly. We must launch marketing campaigns as quickly as possible.”

Sharing the same view, Mr. Christophe Lajus, Director of Hotel and Tourism Business, BRG Group, said that the Vietnamese tourism industry should convey the message that Vietnam is a safe destination for domestic and foreign tourists. The Government can offer a strong communication support package, must increase safety and provide solutions to make tourists feel at ease when coming to Vietnam.

More specifically, Mr. Kenneth Atkinson, TAB Vice President, said that Vietnam can attract international visitors quickly and simply by creating a ‘travel bubble’ like some European countries. ‘Travel bubbles’ are tours to nearby places, easily traced or locked down in the event of an epidemic infection. This concept is like localized tourism. We must create safe destinations and waive visas for certain countries.

Meanwhile, Ms. Esther De La Cruize, Chief Editor of TAB's website and social network, said: “We answer thousands of travel-related questions from those who want to travel to Vietnam. I provide a lot of images for tourists to understand Vietnam’s tourism policies such as where to go and how to go. At present, we have launched a communication channel with tour information, video clips and live documents for visitors to reach Vietnam. They may visit Vietnam in the future if they cannot do it now.”

In addition, bilateral long-term visa solutions between Vietnam and some other countries need to be considered. Mr. Luong Hoai Nam, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gotadi Tourism Technology Joint Stock Company, said that, in the world, the UK reached an agreement with France to reopen international routes. EU member countries are also negotiating with each other. This approach is aimed to reopen international air routes at the earliest. Therefore, it is necessary to supplement bilateral visa solutions with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other countries. If conditions are met with those countries, that solution can be achievable.

Mr. Nguyen Trung Khanh, General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said that Vietnam has many advantages as it has successfully controlled Covid-19, which is highly appreciated by other countries. So, the country necessarily takes advantage of communication effects and current results to spread the image and improve tourism efficiency. In particular, on May 19, the chief representative of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Vietnam also discussed bilateral tourism cooperation in the coming time. South Korea also took similar actions on trade, culture, and tourism to recover, as before the epidemic.

Needless to say, with the good control of Covid-19, Vietnam has many opportunities to revive the tourism industry. But, to do that, the country needs joint efforts and consensus of all travel businesses, hotels, airlines, authorities and the whole community. Major travel companies will play a leading role in creating products of good quality and reasonable prices on the one hand, while having effective communications in domestic and international markets.

Mr. Vo Anh Tai - Deputy General Director of Saigon Tourist

We have joined the “Vietnamese people travel Vietnam” program with our own programs. We look forward to deploying the “Love Vietnam, Travel Vietnam” program across the country. We are committed not to selling at high prices or excessively discounting prices; we ensure good quality and have best negotiations. In the near future, our company will also have stimulus programs and commitments to recover and develop the industry.

Mr. Le Khac Hiep - Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vingroup

We need to restructure tourism. We need to figure out how to make the tourism industry better. We just try to change as much as possible. The outcome may not be as good as last year but it will create momentum for future development.

The government needs support policies like allowing tourism companies to extend tax breaks - not to tax exemption but tax extension. We need to work together to create a better space and better time for family travel by increasing days off in a week but we do not change the total working hours.

Mr. Dinh Viet Phuong - Deputy General Director of VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Company

Vietjet also hopes to enjoy more development in June as customers have now started to travel. We ask for change in the summer holiday for students because the Tet holiday and the summer holiday are the most important time for the aviation industry. Besides, the aviation industry wants the Government to exempt and reduce taxes, especially import tax and environment tax because fuel price is currently very low. This will give us the opportunity to offer low fares.

Vietjet hopes that the international market will reopen soon because the international market accounts for nearly 50% of tourism revenue.

Ms. Doan Thi Thanh Mai, Executive Vice President of BIM Group Co., Ltd

It is essential for the Government, VNAT and local tourism authorities to have a clear message of a safe destination of Vietnam. We must standardize tourism safety. For example, Singapore introduces safety criteria to tourism businesses and inspectors will check their criteria and certification will be granted if they are qualified.

Second, there is a need to design a national promotion campaign. Localities also need to find a way to make their own distinctive marks and introduce their attractive tourism.

Third, official information portals should be created for tourists to access information about famous landscapes and tourism spots in Vietnam.

Giang Tu (Vietnam Business Forum)