The Government has allowed the first five provinces in Vietnam, including Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Da Nang, Quang Ninh and Kien Giang, to welcome back international visitors from November 2021. This is a good sign for the domestic tourism market that has been “sleeping” because of the Covid-19 pandemic for nearly two years.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s proposal, the pilot roadmap for welcoming back international tourists to Vietnam will be carried out in three phases.
Phase 1 (from November 2021): international tourists will come to Vietnam through package tourism programs, charter and commercial flights in selected areas and tourist service establishments in Phu Quoc Island (Kien Giang), Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Da Nang, and Quang Ninh.
Phase 2 (from January 2022): international tourists can visit more destinations seven days after completing the tour at the first destination in Kien Giang, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Quang Nam and Quang Ninh).
Phase 3: fully reopening to international tourists. The time is based on the actual epidemic situation and the results of the first two phases.
Vietnam currently recognizes the “vaccine passports” of 72 countries and territories and is negotiating with nearly 80 other partners about mutual recognition of vaccine passports.
“Reviving” tourist areas
According to the Da Nang Statistical Office, in January-October 2021, more than 1,800 businesses in the city suspended operation, an increase of over 40% year on year. A large number of them are hotels, restaurants and tourism transport service providers.
The People’s Committee of Quang Nam province reported that in January-September 2021, the total number of tourists to this central province plunged by over 77% year on year and nearly 95% compared to the same period in 2019, with only over 300,000 visitors, causing a loss of about 15,000 billion VND for the local tourism industry.
At the same time, over 90% of tourism businesses had to halt operation. Only about 90 tourism firms maintained their business in moderation. Many travel firms incurred debts and faced the risk of dissolution or bankruptcy. About 14,000 tourism workers lost their jobs.
After a long time of paralysis due to the influence of the Covid-19 epidemic, Da Nang has opened its tourist attractions to local people and will begin welcoming foreign tourists in November.
The city has asked for permission to implement a “tourism bubble” program with the two provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Ninh.
Meanwhile, Quang Nam has also developed a program to welcome international tourists back. From November 15, the ancient town of Hoi An will officially reopen.
According to Nguyen Thanh Hong, Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Quang Nam province, this agency has prepared to welcome tourists such as speeding up vaccinations for local residents, and regrouping tour guides. In addition, the Department has designed tourism stimulus packages to promote Quang Nam as a safe and attractive destination.
The department has issued a plan on implementing digital transformation in the field of tourism by 2025 and has proposed that the provincial government approve a plan to develop a smart IT system for the local tourism industry. This system includes the tourist portal, the tourist digital map, a mobile application, and a feedback analysis system.
In 2022, Quang Nam will focus on digitizing data on tour guides, travel businesses, tourist services, accommodations, tourist sites, and tourist attractions in the city. In addition, the central province will build a virtual reality tourism system on digital maps and VR360 technology for state-managed tourist zones.
Quang Nam and Da Nang recently launched a VR360 application called “one touch to Da Nang” at http://vr360.danangfantasticity.com, which enables tourists to learn about local tourist attractions.
Deputy Director of Da Nang Tourism Promotion Center Nguyen Thi Hoai An said that the diversification of IT-based communication and promotion activities aim to keep up with modern trends. This is the direction that Da Nang tourism industry pursues.
In 2015, the Da Nang tourism portal was launched, providing information in five languages, with more than 35,000 visits per month. By December 2016, Da Nang was the first in the country to launch the travel App “Danang FantastiCity” to help tourists make their own travel plans in the city. It has been downloaded by more than 100,000 users.
In November 2017, Da Nang was one of the first places in Southeast Asia to deploy Chatbot to help tourists. The city also promoted its tourism activities on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
The Da Nang Tourism Promotion Center has signed a cooperation agreement with Viettel on implementing digital transformation, building an online trading platform, organizing online travel fairs and developing smart travel cards.
Vice Chairman of Da Nang People’s Committee Tran Phuoc Son said the city would have a plan to vaccinate tourism workers, and implement programs to attract domestic tourists at the end of the year and welcome international visitors, as well as issue practical support policies for the tourism sector.
Head of the General Department of Tourism Nguyen Trung Khanh urged localities to focus on promotion of tourism products, combining digital transformation and information technology in tourism.
Nguyen Hien – Ho Giap