Vietnam’s tourism sector will enter a new stage of development this year, with new measures sought to not only recover tourism activities but also ensure disease prevention and people’s safety, Vu The Binh, permanent vice chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, has told the media.
Exploring Ha Long Bay by hydroplane (Photo: VNA)
Speaking on the sidelines of the National Travel Agents Forum 2021, Binh said that once the pandemic is brought under control the tourism market will heat up again, but the psychology and needs of tourists are sure to change.
Travel agents are the key element in recovering and developing the market post-pandemic.
In 2020, he said, the number of international tourists fell nearly 80 percent compared to 2019, while domestic travellers were down by 50 percent and the number of outbound tourists plunged 90 percent.
The sector’s total revenue was VND312.2 trillion (US$13.5 billion), down nearly 60 percent.
During the year, 338 foreign travel agents asked that their business licenses be withdrawn, a three-fold rise against 2019, while 201 businesses applied for new licenses, down by one-third.
Therefore, to overcome the difficulties, Binh suggested travel agents seek measures to resume operations in the “new normal”, with a focus on the domestic market.
The tourism industry will have to begin from virtually the starting line, he said, and proposed the expansion of digital transformation in tourism activities.
The psychology and needs of tourists after Covid-19 are sure to change and it is necessary to identify tourism products that are more suitable to the new normal. And travel agents should be the pioneering force in this endeavour, he added.
He suggested stepping up restructuring in governance, thoroughly understanding guest demand, and investing in quality.
Binh expressed his belief that tourism will recover shortly, reinforced by the appearance of Covid-19 vaccines.