Nguyen Quoc Ky, the Chairman of Vietravel, one of the country’s largest inbound / outbound tourism companies is concerned that the latest Covid-19 outbreak will have a significant negative impact on Vietnam’s travel industry.
Ky, in an interview with local media VnExpress, said that even though the recent surge in Covid-19 cases was not a surprise, it has created much tension for him and the company as the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday nears.
Ky said, "If the outbreak can be contained within 10 days, as Vu Duc Dam, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime expects, it would be extremely lucky for businesses. But if the spread of the virus scales up, the consequences will be terrible."
Vietnam’s “Tet – Lunar New Year holiday”, which begins February 10, is Vietnam’s longest holiday period and a peak period for both domestic and international travel, with individuals, couples and families traveling to see family and friends.
In past years, there have been two distinct waves of travelers – those from the south traveling to cooler locations in the north of the country, visiting destinations like Ha Long Bay; while those from the north travel to warmer locations in the south such as Phu Quoc Island.
But this year’s Covid-19 wave has seen travel companies, like Vietravel, suspended or rerouted all tours in the north after nearly 300 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in the region since January 28.
January is usually an active time for most travel companies as they advertise and market their products, but this year the industry is very quiet with many companies lacking the financial ability to spend money on marketing and media.
But Vietravel’s Ky says that, "I don’t know if the tourism industry can continue to exist if this outbreak expands on a large scale."
Vietnam’s tourism industry went through one of the most difficult years in its history last year when the Covid-19 pandemic slashed the number of foreign arrivals by 80% and overall industry revenue declining by 56%. All sectors of the travel industry, including airlines, hotels and resorts, ground services and attractions have all suffered as the government has been forced to limit international travel and people reluctant to travel domestically due to fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus.