High-quality, affordably priced tours are needed to attract local tourists, especially following the second COVID-19 outbreak that occurred this summer, experts have said.
|Tourists often visit the Northwest region near the end of the year. Photo courtesy of baodautu.vn|
Now that the outbreak is mostly under control, more tourist attractions are open for business and have introduced promotional tourism packages. But tourism agencies need preferential policies from the State to revive their operations.
The director of Sai Gon Star Company, Huynh Van Son, said it was necessary to ease tourists’ travel anxiety.
“Reducing tour prices and locals’ travel costs must be part of demand stimulus policies. For example, a tour to Phu Quoc usually costs VND8 million (US$345), but it should be cut to VND6 million at this time,” Son said.
Chairman of the Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province Tourism Association Pham Ngoc Hai said that tourism agencies have agreed to reduce their price by 50 per cent or more during the second phase of the stimulus programme.
The association has told participating business firms that they should think of creating new tours and products. “Due to the low-peak tourism season, especially when international tourists cannot come now, it is crucial to 'turn on' the deep-sale mode,” Hai added.
Located in the busy old quarter of Hanoi, Solasta Restaurant at Solaria Hotel Hanoi has launched discounted set menus to attract domestic customers. A three-course European buffet set is currently VND159,000 for the first customer and VND80,000 for the second diner in a group.
Restaurant manager Phuong Hang My said that diners were excited to experience high-quality dishes and luxury spaces such as Solasta Restaurant at affordable prices.
“However, in terms of revenue, the restaurant has suffered a loss since this price is only enough to buy ingredients and pay part of our staffs’ salary. It does not cover rent. We consider this as an advertising cost and a way of retaining our employees," My said.
Meanwhile, the general director of Flamingo Redtours Company, Nguyen Cong Hoan, said that the upcoming months are the low season of tourism as students are returning to school and most families have been negatively affected by the pandemic.
The demand for travel is expected to drop compared to previous years.
“This time, we plan to launch new special tourism products that elevate travellers’ usual experiences. All of them will be offered at reasonable prices,” Hoan added.
Most tour operators said that despite their efforts to come up with new tours, sales are only about 30 per cent of the number compared to June and July. If the pandemic is further controlled and international flight routes reopen, the tourism market will be brighter.
Stimulating demand and promoting safe tourism are the two goals of Vietravel Company, the General Department of Tourism, and tourism management agencies from HCM City and Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Binh Thuan and Tay Ninh provinces.
According to the chairman of Vietravel's Board of Directors, Nguyen Quoc Ky, it is crucial to develop a digital safe tourism map for each locality, then integrate all the elements into a bigger country map in order to ensure efficiency and make it easier for locals to plan their trips.
“Relevant authorities should consider choosing key destinations in each region, such as the Southeast with HCM City, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Binh Thuan and Tay Ninh, and the Red River Quadrangle with Hanoi, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh and Ninh Binh, when building stimulus tourism programmes," Ky said.
Each region should have different plans, and HCM City and Hanoi, as the two main suppliers of tourists for the country, should be the first places for these promotional campaigns.
Even though tourism promotion is necessary to “reheat” the market after the second wave of COVID-19, secretary general of the Tourism Advisory Council, Hoang Nhan Chinh, said that stimulus progammes must be considered thoroughly in order to benefit travel agencies. Before launching any programme, authorities should research locals’ travel behaviours and demands.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has resumed its domestic tourism stimulus programme to boost domestic travel demand as the COVID-19 pandemic gradually comes under control.
Themed ‘Việt Nam – a safe and attractive destination’, the programme, which began on September 18, offers attractive stimulus travel packages through the year.
A number of quality tourism products and service packages at reasonable prices will be introduced with flexible cancellation and postponement policies.
The ministry has called on local tourism authorities and travel and tourism firms to deliver messages to public to highlight the attractiveness and uniqueness of various destinations.
The tourism sector in co-ordination with travel firms will promote communication about safe and attractive destinations to restore travel confidence and demand.
All tour programmes are required to follow COVID-19 safety and prevention protocols to ensure the safety of staff, guests and communities.
The Vietnam Tourism Association has been instructed to co-ordinate with its alliance of industry stakeholders, experts and enterprises to provide more attractive and safe options for travellers.
The alliance was established in February to revive the tourism industry, which has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
The tourism stimulus programme was launched in May but was temporarily halted due to the second wave of COVID-19 that began at the end of July. VNS
The tourism sector has devised tourism stimulus measures to revive the domestic tourism market, remove obstacles for tourism companies, and prepare to receive foreign visitors after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
Hanoi has launched various promotions and discounts on rail tickets and connected tours on rail routes to stimulate domestic tourism post-COVID-19.