The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the livelihoods of not only Vietnamese but also many foreigners working and living in HCMC.
In the following interviews with the Saigon Times, some foreigners talk about how the pandemic has upended their life here as well as the operations of their businesses and how they overcome these difficulties.
Martin Koerner, Commercial Director, Alma Resort Cam Ranh
Last year was not an easy year for many companies, especially those in the tourism sector. We had anticipations about how the year would develop. But it turned out a little bit different than we thought. International tourism and borders were closed because of the pandemic, making life difficult for our hotels and resorts as the number of guests from foreign countries plunged. We also had to close our facilities in April and May last year to ensure the safety following the order of the Government.
However, when we reopened, we saw that the domestic market was actually on track. We received many Vietnamese people from September to December in 2020. For that reason, we have planned to further develop the domestic market, which is our priority this year. In addition, the Government has made efforts to promote the domestic tourism. Meanwhile, we have run marketing activities in the hope that we can lure more Vietnamese and expats living in the country. At the same time, we also prepare for the reopening of international borders. We have worked with our offices in Korea, China and Australia to get ready to welcome foreign guests in the coming time.
Joe Marchese, Manager, Tavola Italian Restaurant
Because of the pandemic, we have lost a lot of guests who are mostly foreign tourists. Therefore, we focus on serving locals and expats living there. We have also improved our online and delivery services to serve customers as a way of ensuring the safety during Covid-19.
Jack O’Sullivan, founder, Modmo e-bike startup in Vietnam
Last year, one of the issues we had to face during Covid-19 was the supply chain. Our suppliers in other countries could not ship components on time. Besides, our orders placed in Europe were delayed. Shipping costs were also many times higher than they were before. Meanwhile, our customers did not expect to pay bigger sums.
This year, we have plans to increase our production and try to reduce the price of our e-bikes. We hope that the bikes will be available in every city in Vietnam soon.
Rahul G, founder, NSG Ads Vietnam
During the pandemic, we have offered competitive prices to our customers. Moreover, we have focused on medium plans and campaigns. We totally make efforts in these plans and campaigns to make them successful. As a result, I believe our business will be stable with bigger investment.
James, a human resource expert
Covid-19 has significantly changed the needs of customers in general and our clients in particular. We therefore try to meet their immediate needs and expectations. During the pandemic, we have lost some customers but have also gained new ones. This duration is a challenging time for a lot of people.
For Vietnamese companies, I think that they should put people first, including customers and employees. Of course, changes because of Covid-19 are necessary, such as trying to impact people and adjust business plans and models in the short term. So, I think there will be better results.
By The Saigon Times