In the context of international tourism being “frozen” and domestic tourism activities not being smooth due to the complicated development of COVID-19, the promotion of tourist markets in localities (intra-provincial tourism) that have basically controlled the epidemic is considered an urgent and prompt step to maintain and gradually rejuvenate the tourism market.
Tours to Lan Ha Bay in Hai Phong City are favourite before the fourth outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic. (Photo: Kieu Duong)
Up to now, more than 10 provinces in the country have passed 14 days without any new COVID-19 cases in the community, including some recording no infections over the past 30 days. This is a favourable basis for the development of intra-provincial tourism in localities that have not been affected by the fourth outbreak of the pandemic or who have controlled the epidemic well. Since the beginning of June, several localities with great tourism potential, such as Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Thua Thien Hue and Ninh Binh, have announced the reopening of some tourism activities for local tourists on the basis of ensuring epidemic prevention regulations. According to experts, in the face of the current epidemic situation, when people are still worried and afraid of travelling far from home, the development of intra-provincial tourism is an essential solution to restarting tourism activities in localities and awakening destinations that are "hibernating" in the middle of summer as well as meeting people’s travel demands and contributing to helping tourism businesses overcome their difficulties.
However, the problem is how to attract these special guests, especially when they are quite familiar with the province's tourism resources. According to General Director of AZA Travel Company Nguyen Tien Dat, it is essential to have an appropriate policy to stimulate domestic tourism on the basis of linkages among the providers of various services including transportation, accommodation, destinations and restaurants to bring attractive travel packages with good prices and quality. In terms of high-end services that previously mainly aimed at attracting foreigners or high-spending tourists, businesses and managers have offered preferential prices to encourage locals to sign up. For example, the management board of Sun World Fansipan Legend tourism site in Sapa town, Lao Cai province has decided to launch a discount of up to 73% on cable car tickets for visitors who are residents of the Northwest region. The Sun World Ha Long Complex has also provided local residents with a big discount on tickets to the Nu Hoang (Queen) cable car and water park.
In addition to attractive prices, travel enterprises should focus on refreshing tourism products while increasing creativity and the visitor experiences. For example, previously, Hoa Lo historical relic site in Hanoi mainly welcomed international visitors; however, after travel businesses joined to promote night tours with vivid stories about imprisoned revolutionary soldiers in the past, the site has attracted a large number of domestic tourists, including many young people. This shows that with the right investment, familiar tourism products still have a lot of potential to attract local tourists.
Many businesses and managers have also said that experiencing many epidemic outbreaks, the tourism sector should get used to the "new normal" to serve the dual goals of fighting the epidemic and developing the economy. The development of intra-provincial tourism in safe provinces and cities is the premise for the building and implementation of post-COVID-19 tourism recovery scenarios.
From encouraging local people to visit and experience tourism services in their own areas, localities that have controlled the epidemic and have safe means of transportation can promote their linkage thereby increasing the diversity of tourist experiences for visitors on the basis of the indispensability of negative COVID-19 certificates for participants.
Currenty it is the summer holiday period of students; therefore, demand for travel to nearby and safe destinations is quite high. The appropriate products suggested by the experts are small travel packages for short-term vacations in the forms of relaxation, spiritual and entertainment tourism. Catching up this demand, intra-provincial tourism in localities where the epidemic has been controlled will prosper, gradually creating momentum and preparing the necessary conditions to restore domestic tourism. However, localities should thoroughly comply with the epidemic prevention and control regulations of the health sector, avoiding a subjective spirit and regularly updating the epidemic situation to business establishments and tourists.
Translated by NDO