As international flights still cannot fully resume, the tourism industry is hoping for an increase in domestic travel.
The 2019 Vietnam annual travel report, just released by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) shows the importance of domestic travelers.
In 2019, Vietnam had 85 million domestic travelers, an increase of 6.3 percent over the year before. In 2015-2019, the number of domestic travelers increased by 1.5 times, from 57 million in 2015 to 85 million in 2019, an annual growth rate of 10.5 percent.
The increase led to higher revenue from domestic travelers. Of the total revenue of VND755 trillion, or $32.8 billion, domestic travel brought VND334 trillion, or $14.5 billion which accounted for 44.3 percent.
The spending of domestic travelers makes an important contribution to revenue from tourism. In 2015-2019, revenue from domestic travel increased by 2.1 times (21 percent growth rate on average), though the number of travelers increased only by 1.5 times. The figures show that Vietnamese travelers now spend more on tourism.
The high number of domestic travelers after the first social distancing period, which helped revive the tourism industry, once again proved the importance of domestic travel.
And despite unfavorable conditions in the second tourism demand stimulus campaign, travel firms are still putting high hopes on domestic travelers.
Airlines have resumed and increased domestic flights. Vietjet Air has reported a steady increase in the number of passengers week after week with the occupancy rate of over 80 percent.
Meanwhile, Vietnam Airlines reported an increase of 12 percent in the number of domestic passengers in the first 20 days of September in comparison with the same period last year.
In early August, when the aviation industry was affected by the second outbreak, Bamboo Airways carried 5,000-6,000 passengers daily, while the figure has increased to 12,000-15,000.
|In 2019, Vietnam had 85 million domestic travelers, an increase of 6.3 percent over the year before. In 2015-2019, the number of domestic travelers increased by 1.5 times, from 57 million in 2015 to 85 million in 2019, an annual growth rate of 10.5 percent.|
All three airlines have affirmed that they will reopen all domestic air routes in October. As for international air routes, Vietnam Airlines provided the first commercial flight on September 25, while other airlines began flying in late September.
Quang Ninh province has recently attracted 4,000 travelers, after launching a VND100 billion support package by exempting and reducing excursion ticket prices for visiting Ha Long Bay and other relics and beautiful landscapes until the end of the year.
Duong Hoai Nam from Vietjet Air at the workshop noted that domestic travel has prospered. Its flight from Hanoi to Da Lat on September 25 was fully occupied.
“We plan to resume the Seoul-HCM City international air route on September 30 to carry foreign passengers who are specialists, diplomats and Vietnamese working in South Korea,” Nam said.
Nghiem Thi Hoa of Bamboo Airways said the airline is ready with resources, products and support policies for the second demand stimulus program.
“Our bosses joke that under the second demand stimulus program, the prices have bottomed out and they cannot be lower, and we are just waiting to ‘carry passengers in our arms’ on board,” she said.
Dang Thanh Thuy, deputy CEO of Vingroup, said the corporation strives for a growth rate of 2-2.5 times in the number of domestic travelers in 2020-2021 in comparison with 2019.
Living with the pandemic
Most businesses have urged appropriate agencies to set up procedures to ensure safety for travelers, minimize risks, and stipulate sanctions to deal with the cancellation of tours.
“We now have to stimulate demand and think of long-term solutions, for example, solutions to live with the epidemic,” said Vu The Binh, deputy chair of the Vietnam Tourism Association. “If not, the efforts to stimulate demand will be in vain if the epidemic again breaks out in November or December."
Cao Tri Dung, chair of the Da Nang Tourism Association, also said that if new infections in the community are discovered in the time to come, it would be better not to impose a lockdown again, but allow travel firms to continue to serve travelers if they can ensure safety.
He said that if travel firms do nothing and just wait until a vaccine or specific remedies are found, they will have to shut down.
Many measures have been suggested to help stimulate demand, such as applying flexible pricing, improving the quality of services, and designing new products. However, the most important factor is ensuring safety for travelers.
According to Nam of Vietjet, similar epidemics may occur in the future. In order to adapt well to new circumstances and keep operating in these conditions, local authorities should set up procedures on how to ensure safety for travelers.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has republished the Vietnam Travel Atlas in an effort to assist travelers to learn more about the nation’s tourism industry.
The Japanese Government has recently stated that it will reopen its borders to citizens of 10 countries and territories, including Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam, starting from October 1.