The figures remain the same as those in 2019, meaning that the impact of the Covid-19 may set the sector back seven years.
Many operators in the sector when talking to the Saigon Times were very cautious in their forecasts about when the sector could return to pre-pandemic levels, although they said there have been optimistic signals of recovery for domestic tourism and the international travel segment could resume in the upcoming period.
It could take many years to get back on track
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung has submited to the prime minister the program on developing Vietnam’s tourism during the 2022-2026 period.
The program comprises two phases. From 2022 to 2023, the sector is expected to attract around 8-9 million international tourist arrivals, equivalent to 45-50% of the figure recorded in 2019, and 65-70 million domestic arrivals, equivalent to 75-80% of the 2019 figure. Total travel revenue will reach an estimated VND400-450 trillion, or 50% of the pre-pandemic figure.
The sector between 2022 and 2023 will focus on supporting tourism enterprises and those participating in offering travel services to facilitate the sector’s recovery, in addition to developing new travel products that ensure Covid safety and meet the market demand during and after the pandemic.
Besides, the sector will ramp up tourism promotion events in key markets at home and abroad, implement pilot programs to welcome back international travelers with Covid vaccine passports, and develop tourism human resources.
In the second phase from 2024 to 2026, the sector is set to serve some 16 million international tourist arrivals and around 80 million domestic ones by 2025, with total expected revenue reaching VND780 trillion.
By 2026, the country is expected to welcome approximately 18 million international travelers and about 85 million domestic ones, with total revenue of some VND900 trillion.
With these targets, the volume of international visitors to Vietnam by 2026 will be equivalent to the 2019 figure, but the expected revenue would be VND45-145 trillion higher than the 2019 level.
To reach the targets, the sector plans to focus on developing mainstream travel products that are branded, have high quality and competitiveness, as well as distinct products of each locality and region.
In addition, the sector will prioritize investments in traffic and technical infrastructure in national tourism areas, continue to call on investment for the development of travel services and facilities, bolster digital transformation, and speed up tourism cooperation and promotion.
When the tourism sector will recover remains unknown
Before this Tet, or the Lunar New Year holiday, many entrepreneurs in the industry told the paper that it was hard to make an accurate forecast about the sector’s recovery.
However, among the three segments including domestic travel, inbound travel, and outbound travel, domestic tourism could bounce back faster and stronger.
Tran Doan The Duy, general director of Vietravel, told the paper several days ahead of Tet that: “If the local market keeps growing like this, we expect to recover the domestic tourism this summer.”
A few days later, the local tourism market showed more robust growth. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the sector recorded VND25 trillion in revenue during the nine-day Tet holiday from January 29 to February 6. The total number of travelers during that period reached 6.1 million arrivals, with 3.2 million staying overnight at lodging facilities.
Some other tourism operators expressed their concern over another possible outbreak of Covid after Tet. If new cases hike after the holiday, some localities could reintroduce their strict anti-virus measures that could hamper the growth of the sector.
The beauty of Hanoi in late Spring when the peach blossoms and banyan flowers turn the streets white and purple may color the memorable trips of couples for the Valentine season of 2022.