Being considered a safe destination for having no positive SARS-CoV-2 virus infections and strong tourism development in recent years, Quang Binh province is resolved to turn risks into opportunities to develop sustainable tourism.
Determined to become one of fastest-growing tourism destinations in the country, Quang Binh’s tourism sector is expanding its scale, gaining access to tourist markets, and diversifying and improving the quality of tourism products and services.
Quick operational resumption
Before the complicated evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Quang Binh Provincial People’s Committee issued Document 378/UBND-KGVX dated March 14, 2020, guiding a temporary halt of tourist services at tourist sites and destinations, historical - cultural relics and famous landscapes in the province. At the same time, in response to the Prime Minister's Directive 15/CT-TTg dated March 27, 2020, on drastic actions against the COVID-19 epidemic and Directive 16/CT-TTg dated March 31, 2020 on urgent measures to prevent and combat COVID-19 and guiding documents of the Standing Board of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People’s Committee, tourism service supply chains ceased operations.
Therefore, in the first months of 2020, tourism and related services in Quang Binh province were seriously damaged by the COVID-19 epidemic, characterized by a sharp decline in tourist arrivals and revenue. Basically, tourism companies suspended operations, with many downsizing their workforce and reducing pay for employees. By the end of April, tourist arrivals to Quang Binh reached about 502,500, down 64% from the same period of 2019 and down 68% against the plan. Of the sum, foreign tourists were estimated at 49,130, down 39% from a year ago and down 45% from the plan. Tourism revenue decreased 64% from a year ago and slumped 67% from the plan.
Given this reality, to overcome difficulties and seize opportunities after easing restrictions and social distancing measures, the Quang Binh Department of Tourism instructed local tourism organizers to ensure safety for tourists and the community from April 26, 2020, while fulfilling instructions of the Prime Minister and the Provincial People’s Committee on COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control. Most tourist service providers and places of interest reopened services and launched various attractive programs and activities to woo tourists.
Effectively promoting tourism stimulus program
Responding to the tourism stimulus program called “Vietnamese people travel Vietnam”, the Quang Binh Provincial People’s Committee instructed the Department of Tourism to launch a local tourism stimulus program in 2020 called “Quang Binh - a safe and distinctive destination”; create a robust recovery, generate new motivation and support tourism businesses and community to revive services, ensure restarted activities and sustain development in the condition that Vietnam has controlled the COVID-19 epidemic.
The program, which will last from May to December 2020, features attractive products, preferential services and quality assurance to bring more added values to travelers like sightseeing, accommodation, catering, destination and transportation services (air and rail transport services, internal transportation services and tourist boat services).
Joined by 300 units, this is a chance to gather forces to promote and improve the appeal of Quang Binh tourism with the motto “reduction in prices but not reduction in quality", increase the quantity and quality of accompanied services, and diversify products and services to meet the needs of tourists.
Main activities of the program include the communication campaign for “Quang Binh - a safe and attractive destination” on digital media and outstanding events and programs. The local tourism sector will take part in major tourism events in Vietnam such as Hanoi Tourism Stimulation Festival 2020, VITM Hanoi International Tourism Fair, tourism events organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and activities for Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship 2020.
The sector will deploy stimulus programs and attractive promotions such as service discount tickets at tourist attractions. For example, ticket prices have been slashed by a half to VND80,000, VND40,000 and VND125,000 at Phong Nha Cave, Tien Son Cave and Thien Duong Cave, respectively; a 50% reduction in sightseeing price and a 30% reduction in service price in Toi Cave and Mooc Spring; and a 50% discount in service charges at Ozo Treetop Park.
Tour stimulus programs discount prices by 20-30%, depending on programs and operators. Hotels reduce room rates and other services by 30% or more. Restaurants upgrade facilities and service quality, ensure food safety, and sell products at quoted prices and offer a 10% discount to travel units.
With respect to transport services, tourist transport means have recovered and expanded operations and increased vehicle fleets. For air service, the province will try to maintain existing routes and increase new flights from Hanoi to Dong Hoi and Dong Hoi to Ho Chi Minh City to 16-20 flights a day. Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways have preferential fares for travel agents on Hanoi - Quang Binh flights in 2020.
By railway, Hanoi Railway Corporation will continue to operate QB Hanoi - Dong Hoi trains to serve tourists who are offered a preferential ticket discount by 10-20% and a Hanoi-Dong Hoi trip full package with a preferential price discount of 40% for tour operators. On the road, intra-provincial and inter-provincial transport routes continue to operate stably. Tourist vehicles are well organized to raise transport service quality.
According to statistics, tourist arrivals to Quang Binh province were estimated at 905,200 in the first six months. The recovery rate in early July was forecast at 40-50%. Thus, with its efforts, especially through the tourism stimulus program in 2020, Quang Binh has achieved positive progress and gradually affirmed its status as a safe and distinctive destination.
Source: Vietnam Business Forum