Huge potential for developing resort property market
With many property experts considering Vietnam a tourist paradise, resort real estate can serve as a gold mine for investors, although there are many hurdles to overcome with the taste of consumers becoming gradually more rigorous whilst supply is currently overwhelming the market.
Following the real estate market recovery in 2014, resort tourism has begun to take the lead in terms of capital inflow with billions of US$ flowing annually into tourism destinations such as Nha Trang, Da Nang, Phu Quoc, Quang Ninh, and Quy Nhon, with new resort models utilising accommodation like condotels and beach villas.
According to CBRE Vietnam, a provider of commercial real estate services, impressive growth numbers are ahead for the Vietnamese hotel industry despite a slowdown in growth rate to only 10.8% in 2019 compared to 2018’s figure of 20%. In addition, when compared to other countries regionally and throughout Asia, the nation enjoys impressive growth figures.
Whilst discussing the future of the resort real estate market, Robert McIntosh, CEO of CBRE Hotels in Asia – Pacific, outlined a few key trends.
As the Vietnamese tourism industry develops, resort real estate investors will have to diversify in order to maintain growth while also considering potential tourism destinations that have yet to develop, such as Nam Hoi An, Binh Thuan, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, as well as diversifying product types whilst professionalising operational management.
Along with expanding into new geographic locations, developers are also active in terms of developing new tourism real estate products, the most prominent being the model of coastal shophouses and shop villas located in the Phu Quoc and Ha Long markets.
Another prominent trend is for financiers to invest in a wellness resort. This fresh niche in the market has huge potential to enjoy stronger development nationwide, largely due to the middle-class population being anticipated to grow the fastest in Southeast Asia over the course of the next five years. Furthermore, tourists from North Asian countries are increasingly favouring products that combine elements of tourism and health.
Given the potential that exists within the resort real estate market, long-term investors are poised to continue pouring money into the sector. In relation to new projects, potential investors must set out their own directions and strive to catch up with the latest market trends.
In keeping with the trend of combining entertainment and resort tourism, Vingroup will continue to introduce the Grand World Phu Quoc project under the model of a "sleepless city", an area that is a fusion of a healthcare experience and entertainment, an increasingly favoured theme among international and domestic tourists.
In the Van Don market in the northern province of Quang Ninh, CEO Group is also in the process of implementing the Sonasea Van Don Harbor City resort tourism complex which covers an area of 358.3 hectares. The site currently has investors developing luxury accommodation products, including resort villas, international hotels, and the Sonasea Island Retreat resort area, along with auxiliary tourism products such as shopping centres, marinas, yacht clubs, indoor and outdoor play areas, and international convention centres under the "All in One" model.
Meanwhile, Novaland Group has started to launch an investment plan with the goal of building the NovaWorld Ho Tram resort complex in Ba Ria - Vung Tau. Indeed, June will see the group introduce model houses as part of the second phase of the NovaWorld Phan Thiet project in Binh Thuan which will cover a scale of 1,000ha.
At present, Phu Long is moving towards health-care convalescence by joining Saigon Investico Sovico as an investor to introduce the L'Alyana Senses World project which covers an area of 219ha on Ong Lang beach. As pioneers in the sector, the operation of the site will see the application of artificial intelligence as a means of serving high-end healthcare, whilst simultaneously offering relaxation and entertainment experiences for guests.
The first project of the L'Alyana Senses World complex to be introduced to the market is Furama Resort & Spa Phu Quoc which features 223 rooms and 85 pool villas on an area covering 7.2ha and situated close to the sea.
A report from Savills Asia Pacific and JLL also indicates that tourism and resort real estate have started to suffer from the negative impact of the novel coronavirus. However, in the long term this market can still recover quickly as the country is successful able to contain the disease, therefore serving to attract tourists as well as a greater flow of investment capital from other countries.
Experts affirmed their beliefs that the present time is a good buying window for investors due to the strong financial potential that exists and because there is an abundant supply within the current resort market at attractive selling prices.
According to Nguyen Van Dinh, General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Property Brokers, the greater prominence of new tourism and resort models will see the market continue develop ahead moving forward.
Domestic tourism rebounding
Many travel agents have introduced unique, high-quality promotional programmes, which have been warmly welcomed by holidaymakers.
The tourism sector has determined that stimulus is not simply about cutting prices but also about guaranteeing safety and introducing attractive products that meet the needs of tourists during these extraordinary times.
Developing a general coordination mechanism for all stimulus activities would contribute to confirming Vietnam’s tourism brand as a safe and attractive destination.
Danang, JICA to survey Lien Chieu Port development
Experts from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) will begin a survey for the pre-feasibility report of the Liên Chiểu Port construction project between July and November.
Director of the city’s Planning and Investment Department Trần Phước Sơn confirmed to Việt Nam News that the survey project will use 50 million Japan yen, or VNĐ11 billion (US$468,000), from the non-refundable Official Development Assistance (ODA) of the Japanese Government.
Sơn said JICA agreed to support Đà Nẵng in implementing the survey and data collection for the Liên Chiểu Port development plan.
He said the survey project was part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the data building and survey for the development of the port.
He said the department had sent a letter to ask for support from JICA in the planning of the port and related projects from 2019.
Following the MoU, JICA will help propose a master plan on port system development and surrounding zones in 2025-40.
A traffic route connecting the port and the city’s current infrastructure will be included in the MoU. The construction of the Liên Chiểu Port will probably be implemented under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model.
In 2016-18, Japanese consultants recommended that Đà Nẵng deploys the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model for the first stage of the Liên Chiểu Port.
The development of Liên Chiểu Port is one of two key projects that aim to turn the central city into a main logistics centre in ASEAN and the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) that links Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Việt Nam.
In 2018, the Government of Việt Nam assigned the city for investment and construction of Liên Chiểu Port following the country’s master plan on seaport system in 2020.
According to a report by the city, Tiên Sa Port, which has been overloaded with cruise and cargo ships, will be used as a major port for cruises only, while Liên Chiểu Port will handle cargo ships and be a main logistics centre for the north-south railway and road systems and the EWEC.
Đà Nẵng, in co-operation with the Ministry of Transport, has been speeding up the pre-feasibility study on the construction of the Liên Chiểu Port for operation in 2022.
The first stage of construction of Liên Chiểu Port will focus on infrastructure, including piers, dykes, storage and transhipment services for handling 3.5 to five million tonnes of cargo in the first stage from 2022.
It could allow access of cargo ships of up to 100,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) and container ships with loading capacities from 6,000 to 8,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEUs) as well as 10,000DTW liquid cargo vessels.
Chairman of Đà Nẵng City’s People’s Committee Huỳnh Đức Thơ said the construction of Liên Chiểu Port in the first stage will need funds of VNĐ7.37 trillion ($326 million).
He said the city has been planned as an international-standard logistics centre for Việt Nam, ASEAN and the Asia Pacific region by 2030.
Currently, the city’s seaport system handles 12 million tonnes of cargo each year.
According to the transport ministry, Đà Nẵng will be able to handle 29 million tonnes of cargo by 2030.
Đà Nẵng is seen as one of the key gateways to the East Sea from the sub-Mekong region.
Malaysia rejects 3-billion-USD settlement from Goldman Sachs
Malaysia would reject a settlement offer of 3 billion USD from Goldman Sachs related to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) financial scandal, said Finance Minister Zafrul Aziz.
The Malaysian government has filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs in Malaysia and 17 incumbent and former directors at three of its subsidiaries.
Malaysia accused Goldman Sachs of misleading investors in arranging 6.5 billion USD in bond sales for 1MDB, while allegedly knowing the money would be misappropriated.
Aziz said he had held a conversation with Goldman Sachs Group Inc representatives last month, adding that the country will continue its pursuit in the case.
Malaysia will not accept if the settlement stands at 2 or 3 billion USD. The government will continue with the legal case as long as it does not accept the amount.
According to the US Department of Justice, Goldman Sachs earned 600 million USD in fees for its work with 1MDB.
The 1MDB was set up by then Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 to boost the country’s socio-economic development. Najib is now facing dozens of charges for corruption, misappropriation of funds and abuse of power linked to the fund./.
Malaysia reveals tax reliefs for real estate, automotive industries
The Malaysian government will introduce several incentives to stimulate the property market and the automobile sector.
The Home Ownership Campaigns (HOC) will be re-introduced, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has said.
Through this campaign, stamp duty exemption will be provided on the transfer of property and loan agreement for the purchase of home between 300,000 and 2.5 million RM (70,300 - 586,000 USD), he added.
The exemption on the instrument of transfer is limited to the first 1 million RM of the home price while full stamp duty exemption is given on loan agreement effective for sales and purchase agreements signed between June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.
In addition, the Malaysian government has also announced real property gains tax (RPGT) exemption for Malaysians for disposal of up to three properties between June 1, 2020 and Dec 31, 2021.
As for the automotive industry, to encourage growth, the government has agreed to grant 100 percent sales tax exemption on sales of locally-assembled passenger vehicles, and 50 percent for imported passenger vehicles.
This will be effective from June 15, 2020 to December 31, 2021.
The Malaysian Automotive Association's President Aishah Ahmad welcomed the move, hoping that it helps the automobile sector of the country to recover./.
Investment capital flows into Mong Cai city
With both border gates and seaports connected to China, the city of Mong Cai in Quang Ninh province is a top spot for realty businesses and project developers.
Last year, the total import-export turnover in the city reached 4.5 billion USD.
Vien Dinh Muoi, general director of Sacoland Real Estate Trading Exchange, said: "Many businesses are planning to survey and expand their investment in the city.”
He also said it is becoming an economic transhipment point and bridge between trade and tourism as well as a service centre for not only the province of Quang Ninh but also in the entire north east region of Vietnam.
Muoi said the city has the key role of cooperation between "two corridors of the Vietnam-China economic belt", the inter-regional Tonkin Gulf and the Nanning-Singapore economic corridor as well as the important bridge of ASEAN-China economic cooperation
The area is also a tourism hub. According to local data, the city is one of the four key tourist centres in Quang Ninh province with many famous landscapes. It welcomed 14 million visitors including more than 5.7 million international tourists in 2018.
Muoi said all these factors has helped attract a lot real estate businesses. The provincial People's Committee has so far allowed five large local economic groups and enterprises to research investment plans in the city.
Vingroup is proposing three major projects, including a shopping complex in Zone 3 in Tran Phu ward, a realty project near Bac Luan II Bridge and an industrial, logistics and service urban complex at Bac Luan III Bridge in Hai Hoa ward.
FLC Group proposed to invest in four realty and hospitality projects in Ninh Duong Zone, Tra Co 1 and Tra Co 2 and a high-tech agricultural application area combined with eco-tourism in Hai Dong, Hai Tien and Hai Yen wards.
Sungroup are planning an urban project of 70ha connecting the Bac Luan 1 and Bac Luan 2 bridges.
TDH ECOLAND Urban Development and Investment Joint Stock Company is proposing several urban area projects in the economic zones of Mong Cai border gate in Hai Xuan commune.
T&T Group Joint Stock Company are planning two projects, a new urban zone and a commerce service and tourism complex of over 625ha in Hai Hoa ward.
Together with the possible investment, Mong Cai city is also speeding up the implementation of five major projects.
These include projects that renovates and upgrades roads running through islands of Vinh Thuc and Vinh Trung communes, an urban development project along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) corridor; a project of renovating and upgrading Highway 18C, a bridge at km6 650 provincial road 335 and a project connecting Van Don-Mong Cai highways to Van Ninh port.
An experienced investor told baoquangninh.vn that the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruption of the supply chain in China and made many investors look at Vietnam for investment opportunities.
With a young and more mobile workforce and low labour costs, Vietnam is always an attractive destination for foreign businesses, he said, adding that Mong Cai city would benefit from the trend./.
Credit declines sharply due to COVID-19
Credit grew only 1.96 percent as of May 29 as compared with late 2019, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Nguyen Thi Hong.
Speaking at a recent press conference, Hong further said in the first five months of 2019, credit growth reached 5.74 percent and the present pace is far from the yearly target of 14 percent.
Credit continues to be poured into production and business, and key sectors like export (up 4.94 percent), hi-tech (2.92 percent), and support industry (2.27 percent).
The central bank has adopted solutions to remove difficulties in production and business, especially agriculture that has been affected by natural disasters and diseases.
Hong said the bank has assigned relevant departments to review the target of 14 percent that was set in late 2019 when the pandemic had yet to break out, noting that it would be adjusted when necessary.
The SBV will continue to direct capital flows to priority business sectors, the Deputy Governor added.
Ha Thu Giang, deputy head of the SBV’s Credit Department, as of May 25, the banking sector had restructured debt payments for nearly 224,000 clients with total outstanding loans amounting to nearly 152 trillion VND (6.51 billion USD), as well as exempted and reduced interest rates for over 326,000 others with combined outstanding loans of more than 1.14 quadrillion VND.
The Vietnam Bank for Social Policies has also extended debt payment deadlines for 150,714 customers, restructured debt payments for 75,209 others, and granted fresh loans to 680,031 clients.
In March and May, the SBV adjusted down policy rates by 1-1.5 percent per year to support commercial banks and reduced interest rate ceilings by 0.6-1 percent per year for key sectors.
Hong said the central bank will adjust the policy rates on the basis of the national economic situation, especially inflation, and continue to manage monetary policies in combination with macro-economic policies in an effort to control inflation, stabilise the macro economy, the monetary market and remittances./.
Indonesia to issue Samurai, Eurobond bonds to fund deficit
The Indonesian government is planning to issue Samurai and Eurobond bonds in the second half of 2020 to fund the fiscal deficit, according to a finance ministry official.
There are plans to issue Samurai and Eurobonds in the second half, Deni Ridwan, a director at the finance ministry, told media in a recent teleconference but he denied to specify the amount and the date of the issuances.
In the first quarter of this year, the country has issued state bonds worth 221.4 trillion rupiah (15.7 billion USD), including international bonds.
According to head of the fiscal policy agency at the ministry, Febrio Kacaribu, the COVID-19 pandemic created a new deficit of 6.54 percent of the country’s GDP or 1,039 trillion rupiah from previously 5.07 percent of the GDP or 852.9 trillion rupiah.
Its economic growth is predicted to be negative 0.4 percent with very severe scenarios and 2.3 percent with severe scenarios.
The country’ budget revenue is also predicted to decrease from 1.761 quadrillion rupiah to 1.699 quadrillion rupiah and government spending rises from 2.61 quadrillion rupiah to 2.738 quadrillion rupiah to curb the impact of COVID-19 to the economy.
The government’s prepared cost to handle the epidemic is 677.20 trillion rupiah while the cost of the National Economic Recovery Programme without entering health posts is 589.65 trillion rupiah, including 220.2 trillion rupiah for stimulus for demand side related to social protection and 384.45 trillion rupiah to support the business community.
Based on the proposed 2020 State Budget, Indonesia plans to issue the bonds worth 1.29 quadrillion rupiah and repay the mature bond 433.4 trillion rupiah.
Ca Mau strives for 1.9 billion USD in export value in 2025
The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau has put forth a series of measures to achieve its goal of earning 1.9 billion USD from export in 2025.
According to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tien Hai, the authorities continue supporting enterprises in expanding production, building brand names and applying transparent information and goods origin tracing systems.
Ca Mau has implemented solutions to assist the application of science and technology in production for better productivity and product quality, he went on, adding that local firms are encouraged to ultilise technological advances in a number of support industries, apparel, and farm produce processing.
The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development was tasked with working with relevant agencies in guiding farmers to carry out effective aquaculture, ensuring the material sources for local seafood processing plants.
Ca Mau’s centre for investment promotion and business support planned to intensify trade stimulation activities, and assist firms in seeking new partners in export and boosting competitiveness.
The Ca Mau association of seafood exporters and producers, meanwhile, has worked to offer prompt market updates for its members and urged them to team up to strengthen their export power.
Between 2016 and 2019, the province’s export grew at an annual average of 4.43 percent to reel in nearly 4.4 billion USD in total.
Currently, Ca Mau is getting ready for boosting shipments to the EU after the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement takes effect.
However, export activities still fall short of the local potential due to low competitiveness, the failure in taking advantage of incentives in available free trade pacts, and red tape.
Sustainable production and responsible consumption project launched
The Viet Nam Rural Industries Research and Development Institute (VIRI) under the Ministry of Science and Technology on Saturday introduced sustainable products from a project in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.
Funded by the USAID Green Annamites, the project aims to develop livelihoods for forest-dependent locals, reducing their dependence on forests resources via wildlife hunting and non-timber forest product exploitation.
Through a market-oriented value chain approach, VIRI and USAID Green Annamites have promoted sustainable production and responsible consumption of local products like medicinal plants and handicrafts.
The project is expected to generate direct income for about 280 people and link the markets for some co-operatives and small- and medium-sized enterprises in the province.
In addition, 2 per cent of sales revenue will be raised from participating entities to contribute to the local community forest management and protection fund.
With a value chain approach, they will support local people in natural rattan harvesting techniques as well as standard planting and harvest process of medicinal plants. They will also enhance the management and business capacity of affiliates and co-operatives to meet market demands and add value to products.
The project will also help strengthen co-operation among people, co-operatives and businesses to ensure stable output for the products.
In addition, the project will support the construction of three elite networking centres in Hue and a communication channel through Facebook, helping co-operatives and businesses participate in trade fairs.
The hope is consumers will understand that buying and using local products contributes to improving the livelihoods of ethnic minorities, as well as protecting forests and biodiversity.
Conference seeks ways to promote lychee consumption
More than 2,300 people attended a teleconference on Saturday promoting lychee consumption at home and abroad held in the northern province of Bac Giang.
The event was co-organised by the People’s Committee of Bac Giang Province, the ministries of Industry and Trade, and Agriculture and Rural Development.
The conference linked Bac Giang with 61 sites in cities and provinces across the country, and four locations in China.
During his visit to Bac Giang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc cut the ribbon for the first trucks of lychee to be delivered to the domestic and foreign markets.
Speaking at the online meeting, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Lai Thanh Son said with a total area of 28,000ha, Bac Giang harvests 150,000-200,000 tonnes of the fruit each year. This year’s output is estimated at 160,000 tonnes.
Up to 15,000ha of lychee have met VietGAP standards while 218ha satisfy GlobalGAP standards, he said, stressing that Japan has issued 19 lychee growing area codes and China granted 149 lychee growing area codes and certified 288 packaging facilities in Bac Giang.
Bac Giang plans to sell half of the lychee domestically and the rest for export, according to the official.
Son expressed his hopes to welcome more domestic and foreign businesses and traders, pledging that Bac Giang will facilitate lychee growing, harvest and consumption.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said Bac Giang has paid more attention to good agricultural practice and food safety. Therefore, its lychee has conquered picky markets and Bac Giang lychee brand name has been protected in eight countries.
A Chinese businessman told the conference that Bac Giang lychee is now famous in China and favoured by consumers in that country thanks to its good quality.
Other delegates at the meeting suggested the border provinces of Lao Cai and Lang Son co-ordinate with Chinese authorities to facilitate lychee export, especially in terms of administrative, quarantine and customs procedures.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said his ministry will work with overseas Vietnamese agencies and instruct commercial affairs offices abroad, particularly those in China, Singapore, Australia and Japan, to promote lychee and boost connectivity in lychee export.
Hanoi’s upcoming investment promotion conference to attract 1,500 delegates
The event, themed “Hanoi 2020 – Investment and Development Cooperation”, will take place at the National Convention Center on June 27.
Hanoi’s upcoming investment promotion conference is set to attract up to 1,500 delegates, including international experts, investors and senior officials, said the municipal People’s Committee.
The event, themed “Hanoi 2020 – Investment and Development Cooperation”, will take place at the National Convention Center on June 27.
The organization of the conference after Hanoi’s initial containment of the Covid-19 pandemic sends a strong message on efforts of the capital city in particular and of Vietnam in general to lure investment from domestic and abroad businesses.
More than ever, Hanoi remains a safe and stable investment destination for investors as the capital city is determined to be the pioneer among Vietnam’s localities in rebooting the economy in the post pandemic period, stressed the municipal Party Committee.
According to the committee, the process would boost Hanoi’s administrative reform and enhance the city’s business and investment environment towards the ultimate goal of achieving high economic growth.
In 2020, Hanoi targets an economic expansion rate at 1.3 times higher than the national average.
At the conference, Hanoi would inform delegates of Hanoi’s socio-economic performance and its endeavors to attract FDI in the 2016 – 2019 period.
Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung on May 9 tipped that, at the upcoming event, the city will issue investment licenses for some 100 projects. Among them, domestic investors are expected invest nearly VND330 trillion (US$14.28 billion), including 26 social housing projects worth VND72 trillion (US$3.11 billion) for low-income buyers.
Chung also revealed foreign-invested projects being licensed by Hanoi this time worth a total US$3.5 billion, and the city would continue to call for investment in IT, logistics and e-commerce.
FDI commitments to Hanoi in the year to May 19 increased 6.1% against the previous month to US$1.04 billion. From the start of this year, the capital city has approved 255 new projects worth US$327 million and allowed other 63 to pump an additional US$378 million in the five-month period. Foreign investors also contributed US$340 million in capital to other 468 projects.
Business activities resume in Indonesian capital
Restaurants, shops and transport services resumed in Jakarta capital city of Indonesia on June 8, as restrictions were eased further though COVID-19 infections in the country still increased.
Offices in Jakarta, the epicentre of Indonesia’s outbreak, are operating with limits on employee numbers while traffic wasted no time in returning to gridlock.
After two months without business activities, the easing of restriction measures was welcomed by many locals.
Indonesia’s main stock index gained up to 2.5 percent and hit a three-month high on June 8 as investors cheered the resumption of more business activities.
However, Indonesia remains the worst-hit country in East Asia outside China, with 32,033 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,883 related deaths./.
Malaysia to resume international flights in July
Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) will resume some of its international flights in July as other countries begin to lift border restrictions.
International flights between Kuala Lumpur and Bangladesh, Nepal, the UK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, India, China, Singapore and the Philippines will take off in July.
The carrier is scheduled to resume all of its international flights in October.
The resumption of international flights by Malaysia Airlines Bhd will allow families to unite with loved ones after separation due to travel restrictions in many parts of the world, MAB Chief Executive Officer Captain Izham Ismail said.
Passengers are, however, reminded to check entry and exit requirements before their journey with travel restrictions remaining in place in most countries, he added.
The airline has increased the frequency of its domestic flights beginning June.
Vietnam – safe destination for high-quality FDI: expert
Vietnam is considered a good land for high-quality foreign direct investment (FDI) influx in post-pandemic period, according to a foreign expert.
Era Dabla-Norris, chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation in charge of Vietnamese issues, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s decision to set up a special working group on FDI attraction to welcome the wave of shifting production to Vietnam after the pandemic was very praiseworthy.
It showed the Government’s thorough understanding of FDI’s importance and contribution to productivity and economic growth, she went on.
Vietnam’s efforts to improve the legal framework for FDI attraction could help the Southeast Asian country lure high-quality projects in the coming time, she believed.
According to the IMF expert, many large international corporations are seeking investment opportunities to diversify their supply chains.
Vietnam has emerged as one of the brightest candidates to welcome this capital flow thanks to its success in COVID-19 prevention and control.
In addition, the positive economic prospects after reopening, the large population size and the increasing number of people joining the middle class are also favourable factors helping Vietnam attract investment, she added.
Malaysia’s tourism expected to recover quickly
Malaysia’s application of the recovery movement control order (RMCO) phase from June 10 to August 31, which will relax interstate travel, meetings and workshops, marks the beginning of the recovery of domestic tourism, with a surge in hotel booking.
In a statement, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said it had published its base guidelines on May 1 to guide hotels into the new norm of hotel operations.
MAH chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said Malaysian hotels are ready to receive and serve guests, adding that standard operating procedures (SOPs) have always been part and parcel of hotel operations.
He said the MAH’s survey also reported a slow but consistent pickup in onward demand or hotel bookings for the coming months.
According to him, hotels responded with demand recorded for the third and fourth quarters of 2020, indicating people’s need to travel and that they had taken advantage of promotions and packages hotels had likely introduced in advance.
Steady demand is also seen for year 2021, signalling confidence in recovery and the new norm as part of travel, he said.
Yap said specifically, Kedah (mainland), Perak, Johor, Pahang and Kelantan are expecting short-term or immediate bookings, while Langkawi and Negeri Sembilan are looking at year-end increased interest./.
EVFTA to benefit Vietnam’s agricultural sector: EP official
The EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will bring great benefits to Vietnam's agricultural sector, according to an official from the European Parliament (EP).
Under the agreement, which was approved by the Vietnamese National Assembly on June 8, as many as 65 percent of import taxes on Vietnamese goods will be removed when the agreement comes into effect, and the rest will be lifted gradually until 2030, said Marc Tarabella, a parliamentarian from the EP’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI).
Vietnam will enjoy a duty-free quota on 30,000 tonnes of white rice, 20,000 tonnes of whole grain rice and 30,000 tonnes of fragrant rice.
Other commodities of the country, including high-quality items such as cashew, tea and coffee, will also benefit from the deal, he added.
Not only Vietnam, the European side will benefit from exporting beef, dairy products and pork to the Southeast Asian nation, he noted.
According to the European parliamentarian, the EVFTA is a win-win deal as it is expected to help increase Vietnam’s export turnover to Europe by over 15 billion EUR, and exports of European markets to Vietnam by over 8 billion EUR per year.
However, he recommended that when the deal comes into full effect, Vietnam must improve productivity in farming, as well as abide by international and European food safety standards in production, he noted.
The EVFTA will serve as a lever, truly offering an opportunity to expand trade links between the two sides, Marc Tarabella said./.
Rice export value up 18.9 percent in January - May
Vietnam has seen strong growth in rice exports in the first five months of this year, shipping nearly 2.9 million tonnes abroad for 1.41 billion USD, up 5.1 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively, year-on-year.
Shipments have increased sharply since May 1, when the Government resumed rice exports, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said.
The country is pinning its hopes on exporting 3.7 million tonnes of rice in the first half of the year.
Rice export prices averaged 485 USD per tonne during the period, a year-on-year increase of 13 percent, according to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority. The average price surged 21.4 percent year-on-year in May, to 527 USD per tonne.
The price of 5 percent broken rice shot up to 475 USD per tonne on June 4 - the highest point in eight years. Prices ranged from 450 to 460 USD per tonne a week prior.
Deputy Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh revealed that Vietnam expects to produce 43.5 million tonnes of paddy rice, including over 20 million tonnes harvested in the winter-spring crop, which will end before June 30.
The southern region is cultivating the summer-autumn rice crop on a total of nearly 1.63 million ha. The area is estimated to generate roughly 9.2 million tonnes of paddy, up 44,000 tonnes against the summer-autumn crop last year.
The Philippines was the biggest buyer of Vietnamese rice in the first four months of 2020, accounting for 40.5 percent. It plans to purchase an additional 300,000 tonnes to strengthen its reserves and prepare for the low-supply season in the third quarter.
Bangladesh is also seeking to import an additional 200,000 tonnes of paddy to secure supply for domestic coronavirus relief efforts.
Global rice demand remains high while supply is limited, said Ly Thai Hung, Director-General of the Hung Cuc Ltd. Co., one of the leading rice exporters in Vietnam’s north.
Vietnam enjoying a bumper harvest in the winter-spring and summer-autumn crops, he continued, would present a major export opportunity./.
Tra fish exports plummet 39 pct. in first five months
Exports of tra (pangasius) fish slipped 39 percent in the first five months of 2020 compared to the same period last year to 456 million USD, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has said.
Fisheries exports to major markets such as China, Europe, and the US posted double-digit declines during the period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it added.
The tra fish sector is expected to completely recover in the third quarter if the pandemic remains under control and businesses reopen, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.
China, which accounts for a substantial 22.5 percent of Vietnam’s tra fish exports, has seen recovery in demand. Vietnam’s northern neighbour has contained the pandemic and begun to resume trade activities.
Inventories at some major tra fish importers, meanwhile, are quite low.
General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries Tran Dinh Luan said that in the time to come, the sector will enhance its management. Farmers and processing enterprises have been urged to work in tandem with market demand so as to avoid redundancy and a shortage of supply for export.
The sector will keep an eye on the market to quickly respond to and meet the requirements of importers when opportunities arise as well as to seek new markets, he added./.
Central Retail to buy 1,000 tonnes of lychee
Central Retail Vietnam, a member of the Thai-based retail conglomerate the Central Group, said it plans to purchase 1,000 tonnes of lychee from the northern province of Bac Giang’s Luc Ngan district this year.
Luc Ngan lychee will therefore be placed on shelves at Big C & Go and LanChi Mart supermarkets. To popularise it to consumers at the 38 Big C & Go stores nationwide, a lychee promotion week will be held in Hanoi.
Nguyen Thi Phuong, Deputy General Director of Central Retail Vietnam, said a team from the company visited lychee orchards to prepare purchase and distribution plans.
The best of the fruit is to be bought directly from the source, she said, adding that the expected purchase of 1,000 tonnes is triple last year’s figure.
Central Retail will continue to export Luc Ngan lychee to Thailand, where they will be distributed at its Tops and Central Food Hall grocery chains in Bangkok.
Luc Ngan has over 15,000 ha of lychee growing area, including 12,000 ha under VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards./.
Malaysian tourism showing signs of rapid recovery
Malaysia’s tourism industry has shown signs of rapid recovery since Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) on June 5.
The RMCO is to be applied from June 10 to August 31 and allows travel in Malaya and between states. The provision has facilitated the recovery of domestic tourism, as proven by the increase in hotel reservation rates.
Langkawi Tourism Association CEO Zainuddin Kadir said the popular tourist island took 1,000 bookings in less than one hour, from 4pm to 4.45pm, on June 5.
The association aims to welcome 1 million tourists by the end of 2020.
Kedah, Perak, Johor, Pahang, and Kelantan states have received short- and medium-term reservations, while travelers are looking forward to year-end trips to Langkawi and Negeri Sembilan, according to the Malaysia Association of Hotels.
Notably, the states of Terengganu, Selangor, and Sarawak together with the capital Kuala Lumpur have received bookings for the third and fourth quarters of this year, while Penang, Melaka, and Sabah believe steady growth will continue to the first quarter of 2021.
The COVID-19 outbreak hit Malaysia’s tourism sector hard. As host of APEC 2020, it set a programme called “Visit Malaysia 2020”, with the aim of attracting 30 million international tourists and earning revenue of 100 billion ringgit (23.4 billion USD)./.
EVFTA to boost Vietnam’s economy: Japan’s newspaper
Hopes are growing that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, which was approved by Vietnam’s National Assembly on June 8, will give a much-needed boost to Vietnam's economy, according to Japan’s Nikkei Asia Review.
The trade deal has already been ratified by the EU, making Vietnam the second Southeast Asian nation to have such a trade treaty with the European bloc after Singapore.
The newspaper said it is good news for multinational manufacturers outside EU as well, adding that along Japanese enterprises, apparel companies and machinery parts look to increase shipments from Vietnam to Europe.
Once the agreement takes effect, expectedly in early August, 71 percent of exports from Vietnam to the EU will become duty-free, as will 65 percent of EU shipments to Vietnam. The remaining tariffs up to 99 percent will be phased out by Vietnam over 10 years, according to the newspaper.
Particularly strong growth is expected for apparel and footwear, which account for roughly 20 percent of Vietnam's total exports, it added./.
Dong Nai sees recovery in exports-imports
Exports and imports in the southern province of Dong Nai have slowly recovered since COVID-19 was largely brought under control.
Many local companies have now resumed operations after a period of suspension or reduced capacity due to a scarcity of materials when social distancing measures were imposed.
Data from the provincial statistics office showed that the province’s exports hit 1.49 billion USD in May, a month-on-month rise of 11.3 percent.
Of note, footwear exports exceeded 450 million USD, up 30 percent against April. Garment and wooden products earned 145 million USD and 111 million USD, respectively, surging 41 percent and 33 percent.
Dong Nai also imported goods worth 1.3 billion USD in the month, up 12.6 percent compared to April.
As the province mostly purchased materials and machinery for the industrial sector, a rise in imports illustrates the sector’s recovery, according to the Dong Nai Department of Industry and Trade.
Businesses are likely to bolster production in the last two quarters of the year to offset losses from COVID-19.
As Dong Nai boasts a number of industrial zones and export markets, it is striving to maintain growth at 8 percent in 2020. It plans to enhance FDI attraction, exports, and domestic consumption to do so.
It has also devised scenarios to flexibly manage its socio-economic development./.
Quang Ninh co-operates on tourism development
The northern province of Quang Ninh will co-operate with several localities for post-Covid-19 tourism promotion.
A programme on tourism promotion co-operation between Quang Ninh and the central city of Danang, the southern central province of Khanh Hoa and the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak was held in Khanh Hoa on Wednesday.
The programme on tourism promotion co-operation between Quang Ninh and Danang, Khanh Hoa and Dak Lak is held on June 10.
The programme attracted the participation of many travel firms from the three localities which are home to airports. At the event, several memorandums of understanding on tourism co-operation were signed among tourism associations, travel firms and airlines.
Pham Hai Quynh, director of Hai Van Xanh Tourism Company, in Quang Ninh Province, said that his firm and its partners had worked together to launch attractive tours.
According to delegates from Quang Ninh, tourists to Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh have been on the sharp rise following the province’s tourism stimulus campaign.
Visitors to Ha Long Bay, Yen Tu tourist site and Quang Ninh Square from May 14 and June 1 enjoyed free tickets. The priority will be also applied to other holidays such as Vietnamese Family Day (June 28), Vietnam Tourism Day (July 9) and War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27), August Revolution (19/8), National Day (2/9), Vietnam Women’s Day (20/10) and Vietnamese People's Army Day (22/12). Passengers through Van Don International Airport will be offered free tickets to Ha Long Bay.
Airlines which open flights to Van Don International Airport will be supported in opening offices and tourism promotion activities.
Some travel firms suggested that Quang Ninh should consider reducing fees to visit Ha Long Bay for travellers who stay overnight and cut airport fees for airlines.