Tourism still facing obstacles despite restrictions relaxing

As restrictions relax under the new-normal and tourism resumes around the country, travel agencies are still encountering obstacles to their operations.


Hanoitourist has hosted their first packaged group tour from Hanoi to the northern province of Bac Giang, the first of its kind as the company adapt to the new-normal situation.

“The group consisted of 17 people but we had to use a 45-seat car due to the distancing regulation,” Le Hong Thai, deputy director of Hanoitourist told Việt Nam News.

“Luckily our trip was safe and sound. Destinations included West Yen Tu Ecological Tourism, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda and the Truc Lam Phuong Hoang Zen Institute, in cool autumn weather.”

Tourism still facing obstacles despite restrictions relaxing
A visitor (left) registers at a tourism site in Bac Giang Province. — Photo courtesy of Hanoitourist

Luu Xuan San, director of Bac Giang Province’s Tourism Centre, said the agency was happy to receive the first group of tourists from Hanoi.

“We are planning for new products to draw tourists again after a long distancing period,” he said.

Bac Giang is now a green zone, which means it is fully opening its doors to domestic travellers.

San said only people from level 4 areas (having the highest level of pandemic risk) should take COVID-19 tests to enter the province.

HCM City-based Saco Travel Company has just hosted free tours for frontline health workers from HCM City to Tay Ninh.

“Provinces should set up hotlines for tourism companies and visitors to consult on how they can get support, test for COVID-19 and create guides for emergencies,” said Nguyen Ngoc Tan, vice chairman of HCM City Travel Agencies Association and general director of Saco Travel.

Tan said provinces should update their websites essential information on entry criteria for guests to enter localities.

“We, like other companies, face a lack of information and concrete guidelines.

Tan said HCM City is the biggest tourism market and a leading hub for exchanging tourists in the country.

Tourism still facing obstacles despite restrictions relaxing
A group of tourists take a cable car to Ba Den Mountain in Tay Ninh Province. — Photo Courtesy of Vietravel

“We want to connect localities and revive routes, but there are still many troubles to solve,” he said.

“For example, for a tour passing through three or four provinces, if tourists have to stop in every province to provide COVID-19 tests, fill in health forms, and announce their departure places and destinations, no one will want to go,” he said. 


These are the obstacles that face visitors and tourism companies in the reopening period.


Tuong Huu Loc, vice chairman of Lam Dong Province’s Tourism Association, said the province is willing to receive guests, but not enough tourism workers have fully vaccinated yet. The province may be able to receive visitors by the end of November or early December.

The director of the Hieu Tour Company in Can Tho Province, Nguyen Hong Hieu, said localities should research the wants of tourists and introduce suitable products in the new-normal period.

“Travel agencies, hotels, airlines, and other service suppliers should co-operate more closely to offer safe, attractive package tours at favourable prices, along with agile regulations adaptable to changing situations,” he stressed.

Hieu knows that there are not enough tour guides in localities who have had two doses of vaccine, so he suggested giving priority vaccine shots to tour guides and other tourism workers.

Tourism still facing obstacles despite restrictions relaxing
The first group of tourists from Hanoi to Bac Giang on October 23, after a long social distancing period. — Photo courtesy of Hanoitourist 

Pham Hai Quynh, general director of Van Hai Xanh Travel, said Guideline 3862 issued by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has created favourable conditions to revive tourism activities.

“If all localities throughout the country follow the instructions, enterprises and destinations will revive their operations more quickly,” he said.

“But in fact, each locality has their own policies, which leads to complicated regulations not recognised by other localities,” he said.

Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, deputy head of the Marketing Department of Vietravel, said: “Each sector has introduced concrete guidelines for operation but localities still stick to their own criteria.” 

She analysed that tourism is not a standalone economic sector, and it requires inter-regional cooperation.

“To revive tourism, each related sector like restaurants, accommodation, destinations, transportation, shopping… should operate at once,” she said. “Otherwise we cannot solve this problem properly.”

“The most important thing for opening safely is a high ratio of people getting vaccines,” Khanh said.

According to Tran Thanh Vu, general director of Vina Group SJC, a digital map on pandemic levels should be updated every day so that tourism companies can offer the most suitable products and tours.

“For example, my company wants to make a tour to Ca Mau Province but when we reach Bac Lieu Province, we may be asked for this or that certificate, then we cannot carry out that tour,” he said.

Vu said localities should soon introduce appropriate policies to gradually resume tourism activities.

Source: Vietnam News