The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has been required to apologize for sending a document requesting local airlines to provide its officials with 400 free domestic flight tickets for their business trips.
The VNAT and the Office of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism organized an irregular press meeting on Thursday morning to address issues related to the document, which was sent to Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Airways on Tuesday.
In the document, the VNAT asked the three airlines to supply its officials with 400 free domestic flight tickets, which would be used for their business trips for the purpose of promoting post-pandemic tourism in the country.
At the press meeting, VNAT vice-director Nguyen Le Phuc sought the airlines’ empathy and understanding over the “inappropriate document.”
Phuc went on to explain that the document was part of a cooperation agreement between the VNAT and the local airlines that was reached in February but its implementation was postponed due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.
Such collaboration has been carried out for years, the official said, adding that local carriers have been providing transportation assistance to tourism officials and reporters who are involved in tourism promotion plans.
However, issuing the document at such a sensitive time as when the aviation sector has just been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic is inappropriate, Phuc stated.
Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Le Quang Tung has ordered the VNAT to apologize to the three airlines and withdraw the “unsuitable and unnecessary” document.
The VNAT must also review the responsibility of those involved, Tung stated.
Airlines willing to give away free tickets
At the media meeting, representatives of Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air stated that their ties with the VNAT have been very important over the past years.
Local airlines are always willing to cooperate and look forward to such cooperation plans on tourism promotion, the representatives elaborated.
“Tourism is a series of close cooperation between the state and local tourism associations, accommodation establishments, and transportation firms,” the Vietnam Airlines representative remarked.
“For many years, our firm and the VNAT have conducted multiple cooperation programs. We are willing to be part of such programs, especially in this period when tourism promotion is significant to the recovery of the aviation industry.”
Vietjet Air shared a similar opinion, stating that the number of free tickets proposed by the VNAT was not big, and the airline is willing to provide the support.