06:00 | 19/12/2020 Culture & Tourism
(VEN) - Mekong Delta provinces are initiating stimulus programs to revive their tourism industry badly damaged by the Covid-19 pandemic. The programs are hoping to take advantage of the upcoming Solar New Year and Lunar New Year holidays.
Tourism seriously declining
According to the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA), the Mekong Delta welcomed 47 million visitors in 2019, including an estimated 13.5 million people staying overnight, earning total revenues of VND30 trillion, up more than VND6 trillion from 2018.
However, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year brought foreign tourism to a virtual standstill and drastically reduced domestic tourism.
Data from the Can Tho City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism showed that the city attracted only 467,200 tourists in October and 3.5 million visitors in the first 10 months of this year, down 53 percent year-on-year and reaching only 38 percent of the yearly target. Tourism revenues declined 43.4 percent compared to the same period last year and reached only 40 percent of the 2020 target.
In the first 10 months, Kien Giang Province welcomed 4.6 million visitors, reaching only 50 percent of the province’s 2020 target and down 39 percent compared to the same period last year. The number of foreign visitors to Kien Giang plummeted 72 percent.
The number of visitors to Ca Mau Province totaled more than 891,000, down 25 percent, which led to a 27.7 percent decrease in the province’s tourist revenue in the first 10 months of 2020. A series of tours with about 1,700 tourists were canceled, causing related travel companies to suffer losses worth almost VND10 billion.
Tourism recovery solutions
As one of the first Mekong Delta localities to initiate a tourism stimulus program, the city of Can Tho has launched a tourism promotion program, attracting the participation of travel agency and tourist attraction representatives, and providers of accommodations, catering, transportation, health and entertainment services.
Nguyen Khanh Tung, Director of the Can Tho Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the city had stepped up efforts to revive tourism and hopes to achieve 60 percent of this year’s target.
The department has collaborated with relevant authorities to offer 10-50 percent discounts at hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, shopping centers, entertainment venues, transportation, and more.
The program is expected to run through the end of January 2021, together with multiple events such as the 2021 Can Tho Spring Flower Street.
An Giang Province is endeavoring to achieve tourist numbers and revenues equal to 90 percent of last year’s figures. The province is targeting primarily teachers, students and state officials.
According to An Giang Province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, tourism has experienced a slight growth recently following the implementation of some stimulus programs.
“We are preparing stimulus programs for upcoming occasions like year-end shopping, Christmas and New Year, together with various tours,” deputy director of the province’s culture and tourism authority Dao Si Tuan said. “At the same time, we have coordinated with travel agencies to reduce prices to multiple destinations.”
Ngo Quang Tuyen, deputy director of Dong Thap Province’s culture and tourism authority, said the province is offering promotions for handicraft products and specialties to encourage tourists to buy them.
It has also improved the service quality at the Sa Dec flower village, Lai Vung tangerine garden and Tram Chim National Park, and promoted tourism links between the Mekong Delta provinces and Ho Chi Minh City to attract more tourists during the Solar New Year and Lunar New Year holidays.
Mekong Delta provinces are working with relevant authorities and sectors to implement pandemic control activities consistently in order to ensure safe destinations and tours. They have built safety standards for tourist accommodation establishments, travel businesses and tourist sites.
According to Tran Huu Hiep, Vice Chair of the Mekong Delta Tourism Association, chain-based operation is necessary to develop and ensure safe tours, while tourism stimulus programs should not only offer service and product discounts but also better quality products and services. Safety standards need to be set and applied to accommodation, transportation, catering and other tourism activities, he said.