13.01.2021, 23:56

Travel agencies discuss overcoming pandemic’s consequences

Nearly 500 representatives from the Vietnam Tourism Association, the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents, the culture and tourism sector, and involved agencies joined the National Travel Agents Forum 2021 held in the northern city of Hai Phong on January 12.
Travel agencies discuss overcoming pandemic’s consequences
An aerial view of Wyndham Grand Flamingo Cat Ba Resort, which hosts the event. The resort is located in Cat Ba Archipelago, in the south of Ha Long Bay, offshore of Hai Phong city. (Photo courtesy of Flamingo Holding Group)

Hai
Phong
– Nearly 500 representatives from the Vietnam
Tourism Association, the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents, the culture and
tourism sector, and involved agencies joined the National Travel Agents Forum
2021 held in the northern city of Hai Phong on January 12.

The
event aimed to discuss solutions to revive travel activities and help
tourism return to its position as a national key economic sector.

The
forum included two sessions, namely ‘Vietnam Travel Agents – Solution for 2021’
and ‘Vietnam Travel Agents aim for future’.

Addressing
the event, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung
suggested tourism enterprises restructure.

“Tourism
enterprises should define which market they aim for when they restructure
themselves,” he said.   

He
also suggested involved agencies pay more attention to training human resources.

“With
the outstanding development between 2016 and 2019, Vietnamese tourism has
confirmed its role in the national economy,” said Vu The Binh, chairman of the
association at the event.

“It
has gradually become a key economic sector of the country. It has also been
considered as a phenomenon of the world’s tourism with rapid growth and dozens
of honourable prizes.

“Yet
the pandemic has pushed the national tourism to dozens of years backward. Its
consequences have not been fully reported.

“In
2020, the number of international tourists reduced nearly 80 percent, that of
domestic visitors reduced 50 percent, the number of outbound guests reduced 90 percent
and total income reduced nearly 60 percent against 2019.”

Binh
said tourism enterprises and travel agencies have used various solutions to
revive the sector.

At
the end of February 2020, the Vietnam Tourism Association launched a domestic
tourism stimulus programme, when hundreds of tourism enterprises brought
visitors to safe destinations

COVID-19
has not only destroyed the economy but also hastened changes in tourism
management and business.

“The
advantages of electronic commerce, which had not been fully applied in life,
have become a crucial factor in various sectors.

“As
a sensitive sector, tourism has rapidly implemented digital transformation,
applied modern technology in business. Yet we should further discuss how to
apply digital transformation in tourism activities,” he added.

Tourism
stimulation – not deep sale

Phung
Quang Thang, director of Hanoitourist, said sustainable tourism will be key
going forward and a small group of tourists will take an important role.

“Travel
agencies should focus on quality rather than quantity, road travel will be
expanded, people will seek more for tourism consultants and tend to travel
nearer to home than before,” he said.

He
suggested travel agents pay more attention to developing sustainable tourism,
enhancing the role of travel agents in community tourism, pushing digital
transformation and caring more about markets, tourism products and promotions.

Nguyen
Cong Hoan, general director of Flamingo Redtours, said the sector cannot
promote tourism only based on cutting prices.

Hoan
said tourism stimulation needed to be a long time and large-scale effort.

“We
should diversify tourism products, add more values to stimulate the demand
besides cutting prices,” he said. “We should connect with one another closely.”

Lai
Minh Duy, general director of TST Company, agreed. “I don’t think
sales and reducing the quality of products is a good idea,” he said.
“Instead, we should add extra services that we could not offer before COVID-19
appeared to attract visitors.”

Participants
also discussed international travel activities.

Vo
Anh Tai, deputy general director of Saigon Tourist, said together with domestic
tourism, international tourism activities will be ready to rise up quickly.

“We
should take advantage of all opportunities to turn the risk into an opportunity
to revive effectively as quickly as possible,” he said.

He
said safety from the pandemic is the distinct advantage for the Vietnamese
tourism sector now and after the pandemic.

“The
whole sector should implement double targets: give priority to preventing and
fighting against the pandemic till all the travel limits to Vietnamese people
to other countries and foreign people to Vietnam are removed. Then we can
revive the whole sector.”

Tai
said the sector should research, watch and forecast international markets
as the pandemic is still complicated.

Tai
suggested concerned agencies reduce financial competition pressure.

He
said co-operation among nations in the region and world in the fields of
tourism, foreign affairs and traffic should be enhanced.

The
event also feature cooperation agreements signing ceremonies between members of
the Northern Tourism Alliance; between MICE Club and Flamingo Holding Group;
between the Vietnam Tourism Association and Cat Hai District authorities; and
between tourism associations of HCM City, Da Nang and Hai Phong./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/travel-agencies-discuss-overcoming-pandemics-consequences/194700.vnp