In its golden days, D, a travel firm, specialized in organizing outbound tours, mostly to Japan. The female director of the company revealed that the revenue of the firm was up to VND100 billion a year.
Many tour guides go selling food (Photo for illustration)
Everything was going smoothly when Covid-19 broke out. .
“I still tried to survive, shifting the focus on the domestic market. But I feel sorry for my workers. They have to sell eggs or sell goods online,” she said.
The director decided to make food for online sale. She has to work hard, but can earn money. And she has tried to maintain the operation of the company with 10 workers and a focus on domestic tours.
She admitted that she now has to ‘glean every coin’. When she meets colleagues who are directors of other travel firms, instead of questions about profit, they ask each other about ways to survive and how many workers they have retained.
Hanoitourism director Phung Quang Thang several months ago told VietNamNet that he anticipated a wave of travel firms going bankrupt.
A report from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) showed that 95 percent of travel firms have suspended operations.
The director of a travel firm predicted that another bankruptcy wave would be seen in March 2021, when the financial season finishes, if the pandemic is not contained by that time.
Duong Mai Lan, CEO of Ascend Travel, who has been in the industry for 20 years, said after the first outbreak, inbound and outbound travel firms were the first to suffer, but still managed to survive. However, after the second outbreak, the firms had to close down. They could not earn enough money to pay workers, office rent and insurance.
“It’s sad that some hotels have been closed since January. We planned to bring guests to the hotels, but when we came to survey the hotels, we found that the rooms smelled musty. They were 3-4 star hotels,” Lan said.
According to Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Trinh Thi Thuy, 56 percent of accommodation facilities have had to close because of Covid-19.
|The tourism industry has never before fallen into such a difficult situation. Many travel firms have had to shut down, while tour guides have had to take temporary jobs while waiting for opportunities to return.
The director of D company said her firm doesn’t owe money, but she knows many travel firms that have fallen into deadlock.
It is well known that a director of a company specializing in a 5-star boat service at Ha Long Bay, after making high profits, decided to scale up his business by buying other boats with borrowed money. But the heavy investment brought misfortune.
The fleet now has few customers, just several groups of domestic travelers. Meanwhile, he has to spend tens of millions of dong each month to hire workers to scrape oysters sticking to the bottom of the vessels and hire a crew.
Many travel firm directors have taken to selling protective masks and farm produce, opening cafes or selling goods online, cooking food for sale, or selling bubble tea and beer. .
Nguyen Tien Dat, director of AZA Travel, said travel firms have no other choice than ‘live with Covid-19’.
“If there are travelers, we will provide tours. But if they fear the pandemic, we will have to take other jobs to earn our living,” he said.
“Don’t be surprised if you see tour guides working as Grab bike drivers, online sellers and waiters. Many of them returned to home villages to raise fowl,” he said.
Nguyen Van Trung is a Chinese speaking tour guide, and his wife is an air ticket booking agent. After the pandemic broke out, Trung became redundant, and his wife’s ticket agent shut down.
The couple owe VND600-700 million more for the apartment they bought by installment recently. As their income dropped unexpectedly, their daughter had to move from a private school to a public school.
There are thousands of tour guides like Trung. Freelance tour guides have suffered the most.
Meanwhile, just about over 10 tour guides can access the VND62 trillion support package as reported by the HCM City Tourism Department.
What worries Lan and other travel firm directors is not only how to make money to survive, but also how to continue to develop the tourism industry. In the future, when the tourism sector recovers after the pandemic, Vietnam may suffer from a worker shortage.
Ascend Travel last June brought a group of travelers to a 5-star hotel in Da Nang. The travelers came at 1.30 pm and only got to their rooms after 1.5 hours. Explaining this, the hotel said 90 percent of the hotel’s workers had left and many of them might not return.