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Vietnamese tourism workforce shrinks by 60 percent in 2020

Sunday, March 21, 2021, 16:50 GMT+7
Vietnamese tourism workforce shrinks by 60 percent in 2020
This image shows the Ru Cha mangrove forest, an emerging tourist attraction in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam. Photo: Kelvin Long

Statistics that Vietnamese officials cited in a recent roundtable conference paint a depressing outlook of the domestic tourism sector in 2020, which requires quick responses to reverse the course in 2021.

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged global tourism, inflicting a total loss of US$1.3 billion, Vietnam’s tourism sector also suffered with foreign tourist counts dropping 79.5 percent, while domestic travelers fell 34 percent last year, according to Nguyen Trung Khanh, chairman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

In light of the coronavirus-induced slump, revenue of the Vietnamese tourism sector was down 58.7 percent, causing 60 percent of industry workers to lose their jobs.

So far, 90 percent of international tourist agencies have been closed down, while lodging facilities only utilize 10-15 percent of their total capacity.

Those statistics were presented in a conference to devise directions for local tourism to survive in the 'new normal' era on Saturday, which was organized by the People’s Committee in Thua Thien-Hue Province and joined by officials from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam Tourism Association, as well as tourism business representatives.

Many pundits in the tourism industry anticipated the sector to start recovering in the third quarter of this year, when the pandemic is believed to be put under control, according to Khanh.

However, as COVID-19 contagion remains unpredictable on a global scale, Vietnamese tourism stakeholders should stay vigilant to ensure safety while stimulating demand for traveling.

Tourism companies are also advised to overhaul their products and services to adapt to the new normal scenario.

Meanwhile, provincial authorities should prioritize digitization, promotion as well as e-commerce integration in fostering the new normal growth of local tourism.

Phan Ngoc Thom, chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue People’s Committee, pointed at countless struggles that the province’s tourism sector has been through in the COVID-19 situation.

Touching on the solutions, Tran Huu Thuy Giang, deputy director of the Thua Thien-Hue Department of Tourism, said the central province should bring out discount and promotion campaigns in tandem with digital transformation and IT integration into tourism management.

Thua Thien-Hue tourism will continue launching demand-stimulating campaigns, namely half-price discounts on entrance fees at historical sites as well as room rates for hotels of three to five stars, Giang said.

The province will introduce new tourism packages, such as agricultural experience tours, cascade visits, and tours to the local Tam Giang Lagoon.

More festivals targeting domestic tourists have also been slated for the coming months of 2021, Giang divulged.

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