|Tourism firms are worried about missing the “golden season” to recover.|
Missing the “golden season”
According to the statistics of travel companies in Ho Chi Minh City, many tours that were booked at the end of May, June and July – peak months for summer tours – have been canceled, postponed or rescheduled.
According to Vietravel Company, after Tet, there were signs of improvement because in addition to the holiday tours, a lot of tourists also bought summer tours departing in May, which made the company expect an exciting summer. However, because of the unexpected impact of the pandemic, the company had to focus on service packages (including car/airfare and hotel), caravan products (travel by private car), and luxury products to safe destinations.
Pham Quy Huy, Director of Kiwi Travel Company, said on April 30 and May 1, tours were still going on normally and stably, but it would be very difficult in May and June because there were many contracts signed previously. At the beginning of June, the company had two delegations of more than 200 guests to two unsafe destinations, so it is negotiating to cancel. The most stressful factor is the airline, when the business has already paid a deposit for all air tickets for the upcoming trips, now they have to negotiate to reschedule and get a refund. According to preliminary calculations, if the pandemic continues, the firm will lose nearly VND1 billion in cancellation, postponement, rescheduled tours, and money invested in summer tourism marketing programs.
Nguyen Minh Man, Head of Communications – Marketing – TST tourist, said the company has now received tour cancellations of 25 guests going to Nghe An in May. The rest of the delegations that had registered for tours in May, June, and July (before the pandemic took place) agreed to postpone the departure time until after the pandemic was under control.
Calmly wait for opportunities
Despite difficulties, unlike previous Covid-19 pandemic “waves”, tourists have calmed down and businesses are also ready for scenarios to cope with the dual task of maintaining business development and ensuring pandemic prevention.
According to Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, Deputy Director of Vietravel’s Marketing Department, the company has actively suspended tours to the North and Da Nang until the end of May 2021 or until the pandemic situation is controlled.
Doan Thi Thanh Tra, Marketing Communications Director, Saigontourist Travel Service Company, stated that there was no mass tour cancellation because the company has closely coordinated with partners and customers to fully implement pandemic prevention measures as prescribed.
For large-scale delegations, the company can adjust and reserve services to suit customers’ needs.
Saigontourist Travel Service Company determined this is the low season for business and an ‘opportunity’ for the company to focus on training and retraining human resources.
Simultaneously, this is also a good time for the company to review the entire process of organizing tours, taking care of customers, and building products, including improving service quality, diversifying products, especially focusing on upgrading infrastructure for e-commerce business.
Sharing the same opinion, Nguyen Minh Man said tourists have a completely different psychology in each pandemic wave. Thus, when the 4th pandemic wave took place, TSTtourist Company contacted and listened to visitors’ opinions to jointly come up with positive solutions, ensuring the common interests of both parties.
Man predicted that after the pandemic was controlled, Northeast, Northwest, South Central Coast, and Phu Quoc tours would be popular for customers to organize company trips and incentive trips in 2021 as planned. Accordingly, TSTtourist is working with customers to prepare the program content such as: travel itinerary, team building activities, and galas. When the situation is safe and the pandemic is under control, the departure plan will be implemented.
Although proactively responding to the pandemic, in fact, the “health” of tourism firms has decreased significantly.
According to a survey conducted by the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) in collaboration with the Private economic development research board (Board IV) and the Swiss sustainable tourism program, the tourism industry’s revenue dropped sharply, losing US$23 billion in 2020. In particular, small, micro, and international travel businesses are the hardest hit. About 35% of small and micro enterprises are temporarily closed. International travel agencies stopped operating, focused on domestic tourism business, or switched to another business.
Accordingly, the issue of supporting to reduce the cost burden for enterprises by reducing taxes, reducing income tax, and supporting social insurance was once again raised.
(Propaganda article on the implementation of Resolution 84/NQ-CP dated May 29, 2020 of the Government).