Nhan Dan in Vietnam are reporting that the Covid pandemic has resulted in a loss of US$23 billion (£17.2 billion) in 2020.
Vietnam has experienced a rapid growth in tourism from 2015 to 2019 with visitors increasing from 7.9 million to 18 million per year.
Estimates predict that international tourist numbers for 2020 will be 80% down on 2019 and domestic tourists will have fallen by 50%.
There is no sign that Vietnam is preparing to reopen the borders. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently told the National assembly that despite many disagreements, borders would remain closed to prevent making mistakes resulting in more cases of Covid-19.
Natural Disasters Add to Financial Woes
Reuters are reporting that 192 people have dies and 57 are still missing after a series of natural disasters over the last two months. a series of typhoons and tropical storms hit Central Vietnam and the Central Highlands causing flooding and landslides as well as extensive damage to buildings.
The financial cost of the natural disasters, already reeling from the loss of tourism, has been estimated at US$1.3 billion (£974 million).
“We embraced nine typhoons and two tropical depressions in just two months, from mid-September to mid-November. Those abnormal weather events cost our country 30 trillion dong.”
“We have to make sure our residents are not homeless, suffering from hunger or lacking fresh water post-typhoon.”Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
Rebirth of Tourism In Vietnam
Efforts are now being made to restructure the tourism industry to ensure that it can be more resilient in the future.
Foreign travellers have been key for tourism revenue, although domestic tourism accounted for around 80% of travellers it has only accounted for 45% of revenue.
Pre-pandemic 9 to 10 million Vietnamese travelled on holiday abroad. It is hoped that these travellers, who will often spend more than domestic travellers, can be encouraged to travel internally more.
The Vietnamese tourist industry has also been dependent on the Northeast Asia market for visitors. Nearly 70% of foreign visitors have come from China, the Republic of Korea and Japan. This dependence has meant that the country has been at risk from local and regional issues that could seriously affect the tourism industry.
At a recent conference 5 groups of solutions were put forward for the tourist industry in the future:
- Encourage visitors from a wider group of territories including ASEAN, Western Europe and North America, encourage more health and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions) tourism and to increase tourist spend and length of stay
- Creation of new visa mechanisms especially in high-quality tourist markets
- Promotion of Vietnam as a safe, friendly and attractive destination
- Digital solutions to develop tourist markets
- High quality people solutions to support the growth of international tourism
Photo credit Peter Borter on Unsplash
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