Tourism enterprises in Ha Noi and some neighbouring localities are planning to host various tours for domestic travellers.
They have just launched a 'Green Tourism' campaign to establish new tourism products and services in the 'new normal'.
“At the moment, the pandemic has been better controlled in Ha Noi and many other cities and provinces,” Phung Quang Thang, chairman of Ha Noi Travel Agencies Association and director of Hanoitourist Company, told Viet Nam News. “Restrictions have been eased."
“Many localities have promoted inner-provincial tourism and plan to welcome tourists from outside and international visitors.”
“The activities are the foundation for tourism enterprises to prepare for recovering services that have been frozen for many months,” he said.
"The campaign aims to set up tourism services and facilities to transfer visitors from Ha Noi to safe localities meeting pandemic prevention requirements,” Thang explained.
A visitor at Duong Lam ancient village on the western outskirts of Ha Noi. Photo cattour.vn
According to the plan drafted by the association, various 'Green' criteria should be met to resume tourism activities.
Tourists should get at least two shots of vaccination and have a negative test. Tourism workers in the companies should also meet the same requirements.
A series of 'green' services, like accommodation, transportation, as well as isolated and safe destinations should be available.
Tourists under 18 who have not received a jab should have a negative test for the virus.
Thang said the fourth wave of COVID-19 has pushed tourism companies into even deeper difficulties, with many firms having to shut down completely.
Deputy Director of Ha Noi Tourism Department Tran Trung Hieu said the agency is completing plans for tourism companies to reopen once the pandemic is brought under control.
“We are planning to set up 'Green' accommodation for guests that need to be isolated, like certain hotels,” he said.
The agency will soon connect “green destinations” with “green travel agencies” to run “green tourism journeys” for eligible tourists.
Nguyen Hong Hai, director of Ha Giang Tourism Department, said the province has controlled the pandemic and plans to receive visitors to the area in October.
“We are willing to co-ordinate with Ha Noi-based tourism enterprises to receive eligible guests in safety,” he said.
According to Bui Van Manh, director of Ninh Binh Tourism Department, the province will pilot a trial programme with some neighbouring provinces.
“The preparations of companies in Ha Noi are a foundation for us to consider co-operation in welcoming guests from the capital,” he said.
Hanoitourist has started offering car tours that depart every week or twice a month, including to Duong Lam Village on the western outskirts of Ha Noi, a two-day tour to Ninh Binh or Phu Tho, or a three-day tour to Sa Pa.
The VGreen Sustainable Tourism Club introduced a half-day and a one-day bicycle tour around Ha Noi to visit various tourist sites as well as the island in the middle of the Red River.
The club also offers bicycle tours to the central province of Thanh Hoa lasting three days; from Ha Noi to Ninh Binh and Nam Dinh over three days; Ha Noi – Nam Dinh in two days and Ha Noi – Ha Giang in three days.
Pham Duy Nghia, from the club, said experts will work as tour guides, where visitors can use electric bikes.
“The tour is flexible and suitable for all ages,” he said.
Travel agencies expressed a desire to have more detailed co-ordination policies issued by local authorities, like a list of service companies so that they can easily contact and set up tours and programmes.
According to Vu The Binh, permanent deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Tourism Association, the agency will announce its programme to recover domestic tourism by the end of this month.
The agency has sent a document to localities throughout the country on the issue.
Binh said the association has drafted a plan and consulted local authorities on the safety criteria for opening tourism, as well as the qualified destinations and hotels to welcome guests as well as the time period for receiving visitors.
The association will start a programme titled “ Viet Nam Green Connection Tourism” with information on safe tourism amid the pandemic.
The association proposed safety criteria for visitors, who should get two vaccine doses or have just recovered from COVID-19. For visitors under 18, they should have a negative test within 48 hours before the tour.
For tourism enterprises, 100 per cent of their staff should get two vaccine doses and be equipped with proper protection when meeting visitors.
Travel agencies should publish expenses for testing and treatment if guests later test positive. On top of regular tourism insurance, there should be insurance for detected cases.
Destinations inside “green/safe area” should be at no more than 30 per cent of total capacity.
In-dining will be given priority while restaurants should have separate areas for different groups of guests ensuring a safe distance among them.
Binh said provinces will contribute their opinions to the plan before September 27. Then the programme will be officially announced at the end of this month.