Unlocking Potential, Developing Tourism into Important Economic Sector

10:05:54 AM | 12/21/2020

The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vinh Long province has adopted many solutions to help tourism businesses affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. At the same time, the department has stepped up communications and promoted potential in order to call investment funding for tourism development in the coming time.

Effort to overcome challenges

In 2020, the economy of Vinh Long province was affected by the COVID-19 epidemic and the tourism sector was hardest hit. Tourist arrivals to Vinh Long were estimated at 665,000 in 2020, down 55.7% from a year earlier. Specifically, international visitors decreased 82% and domestic visitors shrank 51.3%. Tourism revenue slumped 63.8% to VND190 billion.

Hardships on the tourism industry are likely to extend to 2021, given the complicated evolution of the epidemic across the world and long-term effects. Restricted international flights will not likely bring foreign tourists back to Vietnam soon, including Vinh Long province.

Meanwhile, the main type of tourism in Vinh Long is homestay. These are great challenges for the province’s tourism industry in the coming time.

Before the effect of the epidemic, in order to soon live through difficulties and grasp opportunities, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vinh Long has instructed local tourism companies to resume business operations after social distancing measures were lifted, basing on directives given by the Prime Minister and the Provincial People's Committee on COVID-19 epidemic prevention to ensure safety for tourists and community.

Specifically, the department informed relevant units of how to prevent the COVID-19 epidemic to achieve the dual goal of economic development and epidemic prevention; launched three tourist stimulus programs, responded by many businesses which offered discounts and promotions and introduced new products to attract domestic tourists.

At the same time, the department increased support for advertising local tourist destinations, stimulus programs and promotions of tourist companies on its websites.

Besides, the agency provided a list of tourist companies for the industry and trade sector to reduce electricity prices by 10% according to Official Letter 2698/BCT-DTDL dated April 16, 2020 of the Ministry of Industry and Trade on support on power bill reduction. In the past time, the department also strengthened tourist promotion and information through events, conferences and seminars.

Promoting tourism investment

Vinh Long province, located in the center of the Mekong Delta, features cultural diversity. Most of its area is agricultural land, located between the Tien and Hau rivers, so it has a peaceful river landscape, with many local traditional cultural identities. The province has 23 handicraft villages, typically Mang Thit ceramic brick village (formed over 100 years ago).

In addition, the province is home to more than 700 relics and festivals, including unique monuments such as Van Thanh Temple, Cong Than Temple, Nguyen Van Ton Mausoleum, Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb, memorials for late national leaders such as Pham Hung, Vo Van Kiet and Tran Dai Nghia. The department prepared to launch the Agricultural Museum.

This condition enables the province to develop a garden-based river ecotourism combined with local cultural, historical and culinary experiences. In particular, the province's homestay tourism is very developed.

In addition, the province is close to major urban centers while water and land transportation is very convenient. Visitors to Vinh Long can go by boat along Tien and Hau rivers to explore gardens and traditional handicraft villages.

To make tourism an important and key economic sector, in the coming time, Vinh Long province and the tourism industry will strengthen communication, raise awareness and mindset about tourism development: Tourism development requires efforts of the entire political system, not just the tourism industry.

The department will invest in facilities and infrastructure for tourism development; and build specific local tourism products to effectively unlock its advantages and potential. It will step up information technology applications to diversify tourism promotion and branding forms.

On May 31, 2019, the Provincial People's Council issued Resolution 173/2019/NQ-HDND on tourism development support policy to 2030 which highlights many investment support policies to attract businesses to invest in infrastructure for tourism development. Currently, a number of tourism units are researching and submitting applications to access support policies stated in the resolution.

The agency will strengthen human resources training for the tourism sector and gradually affirm tourism service quality; carry out tourism development support policies in order to attract all investment resources for tourism development to create quality products and create high-quality products and services for tourists.

Vinh Long province announced it is calling private investment capital for six cultural and tourism projects in the 2020-2022 period. Up to now, two investment projects are being interested by investors, including Con Giong ecotourism project and Con Chim ecotourism project (Vinh Long city).

Mr. Phan Van Giau, Director of the Vinh Long Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said, over the past time, the department has directed tourism communications and promotions in many forms, especially on the internet, social networks (Facebook and Zalo), on its own fanpages, and on its websites (attracting millions of visits every year). Every year, on average, it shares thousands of promotional information to introduce incentives and preferences to visitors.

“In general, the province pays close attention to investment promotion and attraction, and frequently joins major tourism promotion seminars and events. By entering cooperation agreements with Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta localities, Vinh Long tourism is introduced to larger audiences,” he added.

By Tran Thuy Nga, Hanoi Tourism College