Effective measures to recover tourism sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic (22:17 15/06/2021)

HNP - The COVID-19 pandemic has severely inflicted damage on the tourism industry worldwide. Vietnam’s “green economy” and Hanoi’s in particular has suffered extremely heavy blow. The city’s tourism sector is taking actions to minimize losses and prepare for recovery in the coming time, making significant contributions to the capital’s development.

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was recognized as a world cultural heritage site in 2010.

Diversity of resources 
Hanoi, as a tourist center in the Northern region, has a total 5,922 historical and cultural relic sites, of them, 1,182 have been recognized as national moments. Outstanding relic sites and tourist attractions in Hanoi include the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, the Co Loa relic, the Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature), the Hanoi old quarter, the Huong Son landscape complex, and others.
Hanoi is one of three regions with the largest number of traditional festivals in Vietnam, attracting visitors. 
Especially, known as the land of traditional crafts, Hanoi has the highest number of craft villages in Vietnam: 1,350, nearly one-third of the total number. Hanoi craftsmen are involved in 47 crafts out of 52 traditional crafts of Vietnam.
Craft villages that have long been famous nationwide include the Bat Trang ceramics village, Phu Vinh rattan and bamboo village, Chuyen My mother-of-pearl inlays village,  Ngu Xa bronze casting village, Chuong conical hat village, and Chang Son fan village and others.
In the 2017-2021 period, Hanoi has put launched many new tourism products to attract a large number of visitors. Among outstanding tourism products are the weekend  walking space in the area of Hoan Kiem Lake and its neighboring area, Phung Hung mural street, an art and street food space of Tay Ho district, contemplating wild sunflowers from hot air balloons in Ba Vi National Park, cultural space of Duong Lam ancient village, and others.
In particular, travel agencies and tourist sites have jointly launched many new tour packages. For example, the Centre for Cultural and Scientific Activities of Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam (the Temple of Literature) put into operation special experience area to learn more about heritage.  The Thang Long Imperial Citadel launched a  night tour program called "Decoding the Thang Long Imperial Citadel".  The Hoa Lo Prison site also introduced two tour programs, “Sacred night - shining with Vietnamese spirit” and “Living like flowers”.
Heavy loss 
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanoi’s tourism sector has been seriously affected. In 2020, arrivals to the capital were estimated at 8.65 million, equaling 30% of the figure for 2019; in which, international visitors were estimated at 1.11 million, down 84%. After two waves of COVID-19, about 90% of the tour operators closed and suspended operations. There are 950 accommodation establishments shuttered.
The start of the fourth coronavirus wave coincided with the National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day holidays, the peak travel season, so it took a heavy toll  on  the capital’s industry.
About 90 percent of customers canceled their booked tours slated for May and early June while program stimulating travel demand in summer, expected to be the “golden season” for tourism businesses, have yet to begin due to the complex COVID-19 situation in many provinces and cities.
In the first five months of 2021, Hanoi welcomed approximately 2.89 million visitors, representing a year-on-year decline of 6.7%. Total  revenue from domestic tourists stood at an estimated VND8.1 trillion, down by 50.7% compared to the same period from last year.
Since the beginning of the year, hotel room occupancy in Hanoi has reached just 23.6%, largely due to the adverse impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, marking a decrease of 8.6% on-year.
The average occupancy rate of one to five star hotels in Hanoi was  26.4% in May, down 1.7% from the previous month, but marking a rise of 7.12% compared to the same period last year.
More measures to restore tourism industry.
Facing the COVID-19 resurgence that is spreading fast and strongly affecting the entire society, Hanoi’s Department of Tourism has devised a plan of activities for the second half of this year.
According to Director of the Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang, the authority is working to improve the quality of tourism products and services at tourist sites and preparing for this year’s gift and tourism.
In the time to come, the department will focus on a comprehensive restructuring of the tourism industry in terms of infrastructure, products, businesses, and environment, meeting the fundamental changes of the global tourism market, Giang added.
She also revealed that the department is working out programs to support tourism businesses, and help them overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Tran Huong

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