Tourism development in the post-COVID-19 era

Tran Trong Kien, Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board, talks on the tourism sector’s plan to attract more tourists to the country post-COVID-19.

Tourism development in the post-COVID-19 era
Illustrative image. – File photo 

What are the most important conditions for the development of the tourism market post-COVID-19?

The first and most important condition is to have a good tourism product. That product must be creative and trendy to meet the customers’ demands.

Post-COVID-19 pandemic, customers’ demand, of course, will be different from before the pandemic. They will pay more attention to visiting sites where the scenery is still somehow virgin and safe for them. These are the two most important elements in attracting foreign tourists.

Of course, having a good tourism product must go hand in hand with a good advertisement strategy to attract potential clients.

What should we do to attract more tourists to Vietnam while avoiding a resurgence of COVID-19 when we re-open to international tourism?

To attract international tourists but still be able to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in the community is a big challenge. Yet, by now Vietnam has been successful in the fight against COVID-19.

For many countries, travel freedom right now is a dream for many people.

To open the door to the world, of course, Vietnam has to consider many conditions, of which, the most important is that there is no case of COVID-19 in the community.

Recently, the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board worked with the Government, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and other concerned ministries and sectors to make a list of foreign countries that we can exchange tourism visits with.

However, for us, according to Vietnamese Government rules, any person who enters Vietnam must stay in a certified quarantine area for 14 days. This is a challenge for us.

In the present COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam and other countries, to open the border to welcome foreign tourists is a big challenge. It is projected that in late September or October, things might return to normal and tourism activities will then be resumed.

How do you respond to those that say the pandemic is a chance for the Vietnamese tourism sector to restructure?

 

Right now, our tourism sector is experiencing the toughest situation in the last two decades.

It is forecast the number of foreign tourists coming to Vietnam will drop by 78 per cent. Of course, the tourism sectors in other countries will face the same problem or even worse than us.

According to a projection by the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board, the revenue of the Vietnamese tourism sector is likely to fall by 56 per cent compared with previous years and about a half of the 4.5 million jobs in the tourism sector have been lost. However, looking at a brighter sight, we hope, domestic tours will become a “lifesaver” in the upcoming 6-12 months.

What’s more important is the need to restructure our tourism products and human resources. These are the most two important elements to raise our labour productivity in the sector and to improve the livelihood of the community.

Do you think that Vietnam's tourism sector will be fully recovered in the near future?

Vietnam has been successful in the fight against the COVID-19. The most important lesson we have drawn in this fight is how to make the best use of the limited resources that we have to achieve the growth target set for the year 2022.

We are confident that if our competitiveness is raised to a higher level, in the coming five to seven years, Vietnam’s tourism sector will be on par with that of Thailand.

Does the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board have recommendations to management agencies and enterprises to help the tourism sector come up with the most workable scenario for its future development plan?

The tourism sector should develop its own proposal to submit to the Government and concerned ministries and sectors. Of course, in that proposal, the tourism sector should state clearly what support it wants to receive in its course of development, particularly in the current context of COVID-19.

The next step is to co-operate with concerned Vietnamese major enterprises and Vietnamese airlines to arrange bilateral negotiations with countries wishing to open their tourism market for Vietnam.

And, it is high time for the Government to pour more investment in the tourism sector’s infrastructure and to address the bottlenecks the sector has been facing, particularly the airports, seaports and tourist attraction sites to offer the best products to clients. VNS

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