Supporting Tourism Firms to Live through COVID-19 Pandemic

10:02:39 AM | 22/6/2021

A large number of travel companies across the country are looking forward to support policies to overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

The fourth outbreak of COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the tourism industry. Most tourism workers lost their jobs and started over with new careers because they could not wait longer. In Da Nang City alone, more than 31,800 tourism workers lost their jobs, accounting for 62.5% of tourism human resources.

Da Nang: Tourism workers get loans

As many as 90% of more than 5,000 tourism companies in Da Nang City closed. According to statistics from the Danang Tourism Association, 10% of its members (or 1,000 companies) went bankrupt while the rest continued to close their operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, the Da Nang City People's Committee assigned relevant bodies to conduct studies on loans for tourism workers, sourced from the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies. Accordingly, each employee is expected to borrow a maximum of VND100 million of unsecured loans in 3-5 years, carrying an interest rate of 7.92% per annum.

The loan period of 3-5 years is based on the estimated time of tourism recovery when the workers will be employed and paid to repay the loan.

Borrowers must have a lawful permanent address in Da Nang City and have full capacity of civil acts. The purpose of borrowing is for employment and business expansion loans, certified by authorities. This support policy of Da Nang City is considered a lifeline for tourism workers to live through existing difficulties.

Mr. Cao Tri Dung, Chairman of Da Nang Tourism Association, said that nearly 2,000 tourism workers are currently registering for loans and the association is receiving more registrations.

HCM City: Rate-free loans for tourism businesses

The HCM City Tourism Department put forth solutions to the Municipal People’s Committee to support tourism businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The main purpose is providing financial support for tourism businesses to keep their operating apparatus and retain employees.

The department proposed the municipal government consider and submit to the City Council for approval the option of using the city budget, entrusted to the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies - Ho Chi Minh City Branch, to provide unsecured zero-interest credit for tourism businesses.

This program will not discriminate by size of supported companies. The credit will be used to pay wages to employees. According to the Tourism Department, Ho Chi Minh City currently has 5,002 tourism businesses with about 31,500 employees. Given that the support is equal to 50% of three months’ minimum wage, the loan size is up to VND208 billion.

In addition to the zero-interest loan package, the department suggested financial support, sourced from the city budget, for training tourism human resources in 2021. Given 20 classes, the cost is about VND1.2 billion, of which 20% will come from socialization (about VND240 million). These classes are designed for managers and workers engaged in travel services, restaurants, accommodation and tours.

As for tourist attractions, museums and relic sites, the department proposed free tours for tourists during the year-end tourist season after the pandemic is contained. In order to offset ticket revenue for five following sites, the city will support VND21 billion for salary payment to employees and regular expenses.

As expected, the time of stimulus support will start from August to the end of 2021. Proposed sites include War Remnants Museum, History Museum, City Museum, Fine Arts Museum and Cu Chi Tunnel Monument.

Hanoi: Support solutions launched

The COVID-19 pandemic reemerged twice since January 2021 and adversely disrupted Hanoi’s tourism activities. In the first five months of 2021, domestic tourists to Hanoi reached 2.89 million, down 6.7% from the same period in 2020, and total tourist revenue was just VND8.1 trillion, down 50.7%.

At present, 95% of travel agents in Hanoi have stopped operating. 267 out of 1,191 international tour operators and 11 out of 103 domestic tour operators filed for business termination. 90% of employees were unemployed, equivalent to 12,168 people. Revenue of tourist transportation services was estimated to shrink 90 - 98% over the same period in 2020.

Wage payment is one of current urgent needs for companies while no revenue is generated. Tens of thousands of workers are estimated to be left unemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Faced with that situation, the Hanoi Tourism Department recommended competent authorities to implement measures to support tourism businesses by reducing land rents, reducing power prices and assisting unemployed tourism workers, thus helping tourism companies reduce difficulties and feel secure to launch tourism programs and activities for the coming time.

Previously, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also sent an official document to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, proposing to supplement support policies for the tourism industry in the near future. Accordingly, travel businesses will be slashed by 80% of corporate deposits as prescribed in Decree 168/2017/ND-CP for a period of two years to help create cash flows into business operations to stay alive and have available cash for continued operations.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum