Businesses in the travel and hospitality industries in Vietnam told The Hanoi Times that they are eager to resume their operations as the country is preparing to reopen its borders to international travelers with the trial of a plan to welcome foreign tourists to Phu Quoc Island, starting from November 20.
|Design: Phi Nhat
Blaise Montandon, General Manager of Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai: We’re excited about the developments to welcome international visitors as we get better at living with Covid.
We hope that the government’s efforts in accelerating the vaccine rollout and easing travel restrictions in phases will help domestic and international travelers feel more assured. To drive confidence, it’s important to show people that it’s safe to travel when you’re fully vaccinated and easy to move without too many restrictions.
Through “Lead With Care”, our global enhanced health and safety program deployed at Four Seasons properties worldwide. We assure our guests of the highest level of care and attention to their well-being.
We enjoy strong relationships with partners such as travel agents, who worked closely with us to raise awareness of the Four Seasons brand in the domestic market.
To mark our resort’s reopening on January 15, 2022, we’re launching “Celebrate New Beginnings”, an attractive offer packed with value that local guests love. We also believe people will travel with their families now, so kids coming with their parents get to stay, eat and play for free with this offer.
Looking ahead, we’re preparing for the return of international travelers soon. Emerging from the pandemic, people are looking for places that bring healing to the mind and body. So, we will continue to focus on helping people get in touch with nature and reconnect with one another.
Guests can look forward to a new range of family-oriented wellness experiences and nourishing foods with powerful healing properties, many of which will be sourced from our very own Herb & Vegetable Farm.
We will continue to differentiate ourselves in the market by offering Four Seasons hospitality, which cannot be found anywhere else. This year, we added more events open to the public, such as an Easter Brunch & Farmers’ Market, which were very well-received and attracted many first-time visitors to our resort. We will have a fresh calendar of events that will bring even more vibrancy to Hoi An in 2022.
Finally, domestic tourists are very active on social media so we use social media channels for engagement and feedback to adjust our offerings to better suit their needs. I’m also excited about a new website we’re developing for the Vietnamese market, which will be ready before we reopen on January 15.
|Hoi An Ancient Town. HNT Photo: Thien Tu
Bui Bang Giang, Co-founder of Asia Exotica Vietnam Travel: I think this is a good step for gradually reopening the destinations.
However, the effect of the pilot plan would be very limited due to the cumbersome procedures and high expenses (many coronavirus tests and lengthy visa procedures).
The main risk is that if tested positive on arrival or during the trip, clients have to cancel the whole service. So, I think the best solution is to extend the vaccination coverage to the entire population and open the door for international arrivals without any conditions as before the pandemic outbreak.
At the early stage of the opening, international travelers must only join package tours organized by accredited travel agents. This is to avoid shortcomings and complaints of travelers. It also helps protect the rights of travelers at an early stage. Most countries apply this measure when piloting the relaunch of tourism activities.
At this stage, both the domestic tourists and service providers (hotels, flights, restaurants) are still very cautious about the trip planning because they are uncertain if there would be any other pandemic outbreak in the future. If the air carriers and hospitality businesses dubiously run under their capacity, they will suffer losses.
The main challenge of our industry now is manpower. We have very few contacts with hotels at this stage and I hope that with the opening, they will slowly be back so that we can discuss more.
On the other hand, I think that sustainable and adventure tourism, which have been the trend before the pandemic, will continue to grow.
We will not forget that Vietnamese also want to travel overseas now (outbound travel) so the government should also work out clear guidelines for such trips. The outbound tours will only be organized by accredited agents during the first stage to ensure the rights of travelers and the quality of services.
The travel industry is resilient and as soon as all the restrictions (test, social distancing) are removed, domestic tourism will advance very fast. As I mentioned before, a fully vaccinated population and free movement are the most important factors for the recovery of tourism.
|Phu Quoc Island. Photo: Mövenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc
Philippe Le Bourhis, General Manager of Mövenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc: It is great to see that the Vietnamese Government is supporting international tourism and a good chance for businesses operating in the tourism, including our resort.
The success of the reopening program will require collaborations from all sides: flights schedule, the protocol of the program, targeted markets, and of course, sales and marketing plans to promote the destination and properties.
We have worked with our partners, organizations and shared information with international travel agencies to prepare a recovery plan. At the moment, we have a plan to welcome back tourists from both traditional markets like South Korea & Russia but are also excited to reach new markets like Australia and the US. This is a great opportunity to introduce Phu Quoc as a beautiful destination in Vietnam & South East Asia.
About operation preparation, after implementing the safety procedures, we also worked on developing experience activities for our families, couples, and groups & incentives. We are working on new weekly pool parties called “H2O” bringing lots of fun inside the resort and new dining experiences with a weekly seafood dinner, as well as launching our Aura Beach Club.
We focus on the themes of family experience, personal experience, nurturing positive emotions, cherishing moments of reunion with loved ones for our guests to fully enjoy their vacation when choosing Mövenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc.
In addition, there are also attractive promotions such as free room upgrades, loyalty policies.
As part of our protection of the environment strategy, we have a plan to stop all single-use plastics. We are also developing our garden to provide freshly grown vegetables and eggs to our guests and the activity will be launched by early January 2022.
Safety for guests is our top priority, especially as most of our Vietnamese guests are traveling in multi-generation families. After long lockdown periods, people from cities are also looking for safe holidays with activities and fun time inside the resort.
We expect business groups to resume during the second quarter of 2022, with dining events, and team buildings.
|View in Sapa. Photo: Hotel de la Coupole
Joseph Colina, General Manager of Hotel de la Coupole – MGallery Sapa: It’s good to hear that Vietnam is ready to roll out the vaccine passports that allow visitors to travel more freely and promote international tourism.
In this context, hotels will have to balance the need to capture early international travel demand with a strict implementation of health and safety protocols.
The Hotel de la Coupole is always in touch with the relevant authorities to ensure the safety of all our guests and associates. We anticipate our guests to be more inclined to stay within the hotel grounds, especially when it comes to Food and Beverage. While guests will look to make their excursions in the day, many will return to the hotel for their meals, continuing on our high standards of hygiene and offers.
In light of this, we are working on special all-inclusive packages that leverage our food&beverage outlets. Guests can count on unforgettable moments with classic French dishes crafted from the finest local ingredients.
Health and safety are key, with uncompromising hygiene standards, and strict adherence to local authorities and Accor’s All Safe program-a series of intensified hygiene & prevention measures to ensure guests’ safety during their stay. We need to create awareness that guests are coming to a safe place and that all Hotel de la Coupole staff are fully vaccinated.
With the ever-changing world of Covid-19, there will need to be more communication with our guest’s pre-arrival to ensure travel plans happen without too many complications. To further tap into the domestic market, hotels will have to focus on providing great value offers while striving to maintain high-quality products and experiences.