Fresh COVID-19 outbreak dents tourism industry
HÀ NỘI — Concerns over COVID-19 forced Nguyễn Thuý Quỳnh from Hà Nội to cancel her family trip to the northern province of Thanh Hóa for the Reunification Day (April 30) and Labour Day (May 1) holiday which lasted four days from April 29 to May 2.
Quỳnh said she had booked a hotel for her family near Sầm Sơn beach two weeks ago but decided to postpone the trip.
“We decided to stay at home on the holiday for my family’s safety,” she told Việt Nam News, adding that her mother is now 74 years old and vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.
Quỳnh was among thousands of Vietnamese tourists who cancelled trips due to worries about new community infections.
Nguyễn Gia Sơn, the owner of a hotel in Thanh Hóa City’s Lê Văn Hưu Street, said 70 per cent of tourists cancelled their bookings.
He said many hotels in the city faced a similar situation.
According to Thanh Hóa Province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, as many as 374,000 tourists visited the province during the four-day holiday, 22 per cent below what had been expected. Many tours and bookings at tourist sites were cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19. The total revenue from tourism over the weekend was estimated at VNĐ635.8 billion (US$27.5 million), a decline of 32.4 per cent against the same period last year.
Hà Nội also recorded a sharp decrease in the number of domestic tourists during the holiday.
The city’s tourism sector had launched efforts to stimulate domestic travel in hopes of a holiday bump.
Many tourist accommodations in Hà Nội slashed their prices and before the holiday, some resorts in suburban areas reported they were almost fully booked.
However, the resurgence of COVID-19 in the community had a severe impact on the industry.
Statistics from Hà Nội’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism showed between 25-30 per cent of pre-booked rooms were cancelled.
Many tourist sites were forced to halt programmes and festivals which were set to attract a lot of people. The old village of Đường Lâm postponed an exhibition of countryside markets while Bao Son Paradise Park postponed the Ocean Festival.
Other destinations nationwide also witnessed a sharp decrease in tourist numbers.
In Hải Phòng City, the number of tourists who visited Cát Bà Island and Đồ Sơn Beach fell substantially. Domestic tourists to Đồ Sơn Beach reached only 110,000 and 40 per cent of customers cancelled their tours, according to Đồ Sơn District’s People’s Committee.
The committee said most tourist service establishments, local people and tourists basically complied with the Ministry of Health’s guidance on COVID-19 prevention and control.
Đà Nẵng, a tourist hotspot in central Việt Nam, also saw tourism activities face difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of tourists who visited famous sites in the city including Linh Ứng Pagoda and Love Bridge in Đà Nẵng was well below expectations.
Earlier, Đà Nẵng City’s Tourist Department said the total number of visitors to the city was estimated to reach 130,000.
In addition to cancelling tours, a number of hotels in the city faced a situation where many people arrived in Đà Nẵng but changed their plans and checked out earlier than expected.
Trần Văn Tú, the owner of a three-star hotel on Võ Nguyên Giáp Street, said early check-outs due to fear of the disease had hit hard.
“The cancellation of reservations and early check-outs seriously affected our business,” he told Lao Động (Labour) newspaper.
Cao Trí Dũng, chairman of Đà Nẵng Tourism Association, said about 20 per cent of tourists cancelled their tours to the city, including large groups.
In addition, local authorities postponed several cultural and sports programmes, including the Đà Nẵng International Fireworks Festival, to ensure safety. – VNS