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Safety now outweighs prices in tourism sector: expert
Thursday,  10/22/2020, 17:16 

Safety now outweighs prices in tourism sector: expert

The Saigon Times

Delegates at the seminar “Promoting safe tourism” held in HCMC on October 22 - PHOTO: NHUAN MAN & THANH HOA

HCMC – Tourists are now more concerned about their safety when they travel rather than the prices of tourism products and services, as Covid-19 remains a challenge for the world, said Nguyen Viet Anh, head of the Travel Division under the HCMC Department of Tourism.

At a seminar, “Promoting safe tourism”, held in HCMC on October 22 by the Saigon Times Group, Anh said the department had worked out many solutions to help the tourism sector recover, including introducing safe destinations for tourists. Earlier, safety standards were provided for tourism facilities.

Another important factor is the attraction of tourism products, Anh said, adding that HCMC must reach a consensus over safety standards with other localities to facilitate the travel of local residents to other parts of the country.

Nguyen Viet Anh, head of the Travel Division under the HCMC Department of Tourism, speaks at the seminar

Tran Minh Hung, editor-in-chief of the Saigon Times Group, agreed that it is necessary to have standards for safe tourist sites and such information should be simple and easy to understand to help tourists feel comfortable and secure.

Speaking at the seminar, accompanied by Images Travel Co., Ltd, Dang Manh Phuoc, director of Outbox Consulting Company, said a survey conducted by the company showed that 92% of respondents were anxious about lodging facilities being clean and safe. Up to 83% of tourists would not go on tours if they have to remain quarantined at destinations.

Therefore, Phuoc suggested safety standards with four main objectives for tourism service suppliers and tourists: supporting firms and staff in the tourism sector in deploying regulations on Covid-19 prevention and control, setting up criteria on public health safety, building tourists’ confidence in safety standards and helping tourists discover new experiences at new destinations.

Dang Manh Phuoc, director of Outbox Consulting Company, at the seminar

Safety is now the key for tourism services, said Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions Tourism Company. He proposed that tourists’ requirements while traveling, such as room cleaning, catering and payment, should be taken care of via apps. Tourists should be encouraged to use the stairs instead of elevators to prevent the gathering of people.

Phan Xuan Anh (standing), chairman of Viet Excursions Tourism Company, answers questions of guests at the seminar

Ngo Minh Duc, chairman of HG Holdings, sounded more positive when considering safe travel as an opportunity for Vietnam’s tourism to recover from 2021 as many other countries worldwide are still struggling to control the pandemic. Vietnam has done the job well, so the tourism sector should be prepared to resume.

He proposed the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism come up with a safe tourism operation process and choose some source markets to test the process on a trial basis.

Nguyen Thi Khanh, vice chairwoman of the HCMC Tourism Association, said the association had provided safe tourism criteria and connected localities to help tour operators take tourists to safe destinations. It had also asked travel firms to prepare new business plans and choose safe source markets.

Nguyen Thi Khanh (standing), vice chairwoman of the HCMC Tourism Association, announces the association's solutions to safe tourism

According to experts, if safe tourism solutions are not worked out soon, Vietnam cannot welcome international tourists until the middle of next year. If the tourism sector takes longer to recover, the relevant sectors, such as aviation, transport, lodging, catering and entertainment services, will also find it hard to get better.

In reality, the Government has assigned the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to build safe tourism operation processes in a transparent manner, said HG Holdings Chairman Duc, who is also a consultant to the National Tourism Council.

Although international tourists have contributed significantly to the country’s economic development, enterprises in the tourism sector should boost the domestic tourism segment in the next 12 months, Duc advised.

Ngo Minh Duc (standing), chairman of HG Holdings, considers safe tourism as an opportunity for Vietnam’s tourism

Similar seminars will be held in Quang Nam Province on October 29, in Can Tho City on November 6 and in Hanoi on November 11.

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