Vietnam’s revenue from travel and tourism sharply decreased in the first six months of 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report recently released by the General Statistics Office.

Hoang Su Phi terraced fields (Ha Giang province) in ripe rice season. Photo: Vietnam Tourism 

The report shows that Covid-19 has negatively impacted all areas of the economy, including tourism. The number of both international and domestic tourists has dropped significantly compared to the same time before the pandemic.

The international arrivals to Vietnam were estimated at 88,200 in the January-June period, 98% less than in the same period last year. In which, arrivals from all major markets decreased sharply: China reached nearly 36,700 arrivals, down 96% over the same period last year; South Korea decreased by 98% and Japan down to 97.6%. They are foreigners on diplomatic or official business, and highly skilled workers.

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, Vietnam has imposed several travel restrictions on those entering the country. The country has temporarily suspended entry for all foreign nationals from March 22, 2020. The local authority has not been issuing visas or allowing entry to any travelers since that time, including those who already hold visas or visa exemptions. 

Besides, domestic tourism has shown disheartening signs. Facing the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is considered the most serious ever in Vietnam, the country’s tourism stimulus programs have to be postponed.

The hope that the rise of domestic tourism during summer would compensate the losses in inbound tourism has vanished. According to Nguyen Tien Dat, CEO of AZA Travel, the summer of 2021 would also a “death summer” for tourism. “Tourist attractions and services are still hibernating amidst the peak season, thus, the risk of many tourism businesses going bankrupt is real,” he told The Hanoi Times.

Pham Ha, CEO of Luxury Group – owner luxurious cruises operating on Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province told The Hanoi Times: “I think we need to live in harmony with Covid-19. If tourism leaders still stick to conservative policies, some tourism services will cease to exist after the pandemic.”

Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province. Photo:

As a famous tourist destination near Hanoi, Quang Ninh has launched many policies to stimulate domestic tourism after recovering from Covid-19. The province, however, is not open for visitors from other provinces.

The situation is similar in Hanoi. Director of Hanoi Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang has recently asked travel enterprises to prepare for the reopening and create products for the “Hanoi people travel in Hanoi” campaign.

She also asked them to cooperate with other cities and provinces that have controlled the pandemic such as Quang Ninh, Ninh Binh, Son La, and Lai Chau, to meet the travel demand of the people and gradually revive the economy. However, no further decisions on tourism by Hanoi’s authority have been made yet.