Since the Covid-19 pandemic has been brought under control in Vietnam, the tourism sector, which was affected most by the epidemic, has made initial “ice-breaking” steps to rejuvenate itself.
Accordingly, the development of the domestic tourism market is considered to be of the utmost importance during this time.
According to a report on outbound travel in Vietnam, which was conducted in 2019 by Outbox Consulting – a pioneering company in research and consulting solutions customised to destinations in Vietnam, the number of Vietnamese tourists traveling abroad has been increasing by 10-15% per year and was expected to rise by 9.5% by 2021. However, due to Covid-19, Vietnamese people’s foreign travel will be greatly reduced, offering an opportunity for the tourism sector to promote the domestic market.
A representative from Google Asia-Pacific also said that since the second half of April, when social distancing orders were eased in Vietnam, searches for domestic flights have accounted for 85%; searches related to sea tourism have doubled and those for national parks have increased 25%.
The figures show that Vietnamese people’s demand for domestic travel has been relatively high. While international tourism activities have not been able to resume, the sector should thoroughly grasp this “golden opportunity” to promote the domestic market, contributing to gradually increasing the total number of tourists as well as improving the difficult position of many travel enterprises. However, people’s incomes have been affected due to Covdi-19; therefore, attractive stimulus programmes are one initial solution to stimulate the domestic tourism market.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recently launched a programme entitled “Vietnamese people travel Vietnam”, aiming to attract the proactive participation of localities, airlines and travel enterprises to rejuvenate the domestic tourism market, while ensuring regulations on epidemic prevention and control for tourists, employees and community are abided by. With an implementation period of June 1 to December 31, the programme focuses on these key tasks: promoting attractive destinations and products; building and developing high-quality stimulus packages together with reasonable prices, the collaboration and cooperation and high level of commitment of service providers offering package deals or other services..
The Vietnam Tourism Association (VTA) on May 16 officially launched a national programme to stimulate domestic tourism, which will be implemented across two stages, the first from May 15 to July 15 and the second from July 15 until the end of this year. Under the programme, several principles have been highlighted, including ensuring safety for visitors, reducing prices but not reducing service quality or maintaining prices but adding more benefits. The relevant agencies should also pay significant attention to improving uniqueness and providing diverse promotions for the various stimulus products.
Vice Chairman of the VTA Vu The Binh said that the response of over 150 businesses, representing travel enterprises around the world, has shown their determination to rejuvenate the domestic market, helping the Vietnamese tourism sector regain its growth momentum. Despite being one of industries which suffered the most severe damage due to Covid-19, tourism has the ability to recover quickly and contribute to boosting other economic sectors.
The best evidence for the efforts to revive the country’s domestic tourism market is the fact that many participants in the tourism service supply chain have shared their difficulties and cooperated to create products with a high degree of competitiveness both in terms of quality and price. A series of provinces and cities, which are major destinations in the country, have applied a free admission policy and discounted sightseeing fees by 20-50% for visitors to famous landscapes and entertainment areas. Many accommodation establishments around the country simultaneously reduced the prices of room rates and services. The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, in collaboration with the VTA, has deployed the programme “Vietnamese tourism – bright destination”. The airline has also cooperated with prestigious travel companies, such as Hanoitourist, Saigontourist, Vietrantour, Vietravel and Hanoi Redtours, to offer tours with special discounts of up to 40% for groups of at least six tourists who travel between May 15 and December 31. Air tickets are included in the package distributed by travel agents. Director of Hanoitourist Company, Phung Quang Thang, noted that during this time, people are still a little nervous when considering travel, so enterprises should provide products that can both meet travelers’ demand and also help them feel secure.
Online transactions will “bloom” after Covid-19. Accordingly, tourists can book air tickets, hotel rooms and other services from the comfort of their home. However, they need to have some experience of this and also spend a lot of time “hunting” for cheap tickets and room rates. Therefore, travel businesses who can boost their digital transformation and quickly offer packages with reasonable prices and a professional service that meets the new demand of customers, will gain worthy results.
Many travel agencies have also launched their own products and strategies in order to promote domestic tourism. Hanoi Redtours his providing families with attractive tours with discounts of 30-50%; meanwhile, Vietravel has built packages with discounts of up to 50%. Grasping the backpacking trend, the companies have also added retail products and services, including booking hotels and air tickets as well as car rental. For example, the AZA Travel Company has introduced various attractive services, with discounts of up to 70% for air tickets and hotels and up to 50% off on vouchers to luxury resorts around the country.
It can be seen that Covid-19 epidemic is also an opportunity for travel enterprises to face their challenges and examine themselves. As a result, they will be more resistant and adaptive to the fluctuations of nature and society. The tourism sector should also truly appreciate the importance of domestic tourism development because it must be considered a strategy for sustainable development with a high potential of creating cyclical local revenue flows.