Vietnam’s tourism industry has felt bruises as the new cororavirus has spread fears across the globe and caused a plunge in foreign arrivals, especially guests from the largest markets.
|Tourists enjoy on a boat at Ha Long bay, Quang Ninh province.
Foreign tourist arrivals in the country totaled an estimated 3.23 million in the first two months this year, representing an increase of 4.8% year-on-year, the slowest pace since 2016, according to data of the General Statistic Office.
The country welcomed 2.43 million Asia visitors in the January-February period, up a meager 4.7% from the corresponding period last year. Of the total, arrivals from China dropped 5.8% to 838.6 thousand, those from South Korea inched up 2.4% to 790.4 thousand, and those from Japan increased 8% to 163 thousand.
The impact of Covid-19 was felt stronger in February when the arrivals reached some 1.24 million, falling 27.7% from January and 21.8% from a year earlier, statistics showed. The number of Asian guests, which usually account for more than 70% of the total, plummeted 27.2% year-on-year.
According to media reports, many hotels in Vietnam have been forced to shut temporarily to mitigate losses while a number of tour guides are seeking new jobs.
Vietnam’s tourism industry is estimated to suffer a loss of US$7 billion this year due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and national carrier Vietnam Airlines on February 25 launched a campaign to stimulate travel demand for both outbound and inbound markets.