HCM City tourism industry seeks tax breaks to cushion coronavirus blow

The HCM City Department of Tourism yesterday (Feb 20) called on the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to seek preferential policies from the Government to soften the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak.

HCM City tourism industry seeks tax breaks to cushion coronavirus blow
 Foreign tourists in HCM City. — VNS Photo Thu Hang

It wanted corporate income tax, value-added tax and personal income tax breaks, cut in bank loan rates and permission to delay repayment of loans.

It also wanted to waive visas for nationals of more countries such as Australia, New Zealand, India, and Canada, and waive visa fees for or grant e-visas to tourists from large markets.

A leading tourist destination in the country, HCM City has been hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of visitors travelling to the city by air plummet by 28 per cent this month compared to last month and 22 per cent from a year ago, according to a report released by the department at a meeting yesterday (Feb 20).

Popular tourist attractions in the city saw a 30-40 per cent drop in the number of visitors.

Travel firms are expecting a drop of 40-60 per cent in revenue in the first quarter of this year and 70-80 per cent fall in revenue for travel firms exploring Chinese market.

Many businesses have laid off workers and cut salaries due to a downturn in business.

Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the department, said the city has plans in place to revive tourism after the Covid-19 epidemic is contained.


It would launch domestic stimulus packages with discounts of 50 per cent, he said.

Nguyen Dang Cuong, head of marketing and sales at Vietnam Airlines, promised the carrier would reduce fares by 50 per cent on most routes to stimulus domestic travel.

It would collaborate with travel firms to offer packages to attract tourists, he said.

Ha Van Sieu, deputy director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said with coronavirus fears keeping visitors away, the tourism industry has taken a significant hit.

To attract tourists back, the sector is implementing measures to build confidence and make destinations more attractive and safer, he said.

It would step up marketing and promotion to rebound from the epidemic.

State management agencies, business groups and businesses need to co-ordinate marketing and stimulus programmes, he added. — VNS