Vietnam tourism prepares for comeback

 Instead of going to work at the Hanoi Travel Joint Stock Company that employs her, Thanh has returned to her hometown, where she does housework, goes to the market, prepares meals, and looks after her child. Her employer has told her to take time off given the suspension of most foreign travel to Vietnam due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

vietnam tourism prepares for comeback

Vietnam’s tourism industry hopes for a strong comeback

Like hundreds of thousands of employees in Vietnam’s fast-developing tourism industry, Thanh is depressed and worried about her future, fearing she may be forced to take a stiff pay cut or lose her job altogether.

The Covid-19 pandemic broke out during Vietnam’s tourism high season. Although the tourism sector has strictly implemented prevention and control measures to ensure tourist safety, many tourists cancelled their plans resulting in a sharp drop in revenues.

The tourism industry is expected to “hibernate” for a long time and travel businesses will suffer heavy losses. Due to the expected long-term impacts of the pandemic on the tourism industry, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST) has prepared various recovery plans for the industry.

Among the urgent solutions proposed by the MoCST to support businesses is an exemption of the value added tax (VAT) for travel consumption and tourism businesses from the first to the third quarter of this year; a 50 percent VAT reduction for travel consumption and tourism businesses in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. The State Bank of Vietnam is being urged to extend loan repayment periods and offer new preferential loans with low or zero interest rates so that the businesses can save costs and pay salaries.

To help the industry revive, the MoCST has also outlined several measures to submit to the prime minister to create the most favorable conditions for the return of international visitors to Vietnam. Among the proposals are visa exemptions for 12 months after announcing the end of the pandemic; offering electronic visa applications for 80 potential countries and territories; applying a favorable policy to receive visas at ports of entry without requiring official letters from international tour companies. Other suggestions include tourism promotion campaigns and diversified promotion channels to expand domestic and foreign tourism markets.

Once the Covid-19 pandemic is stamped out and Vietnam announces it is safe for travel, a tourism stimulus

campaign will be launched under the slogan “Vietnamese people travel Vietnam” in order to revive the Vietnamese

tourism market.

Hoa Quynh