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Mekong Delta stimulates tourism "Vietnamese people travel to Vietnam"
Date: 25/06/2020

According to statistics of provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta (M.D), due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, in the first 4 months of 2020, visitors to the Mekong Delta decreased by 41.6%, the number of stays by 50%, total revenue decreased by 42% over the same period of last year. The Mekong Delta Tourism Association has just coordinated with the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Association to organize a conference in Can Tho City to deploy the main post-COVID-19 pandemic tasks of restoring and stimulating the Mekong Delta tourism. More than 150 organizations including travel agencies, restaurants, and hotel businesses, tourism areas, airlines, tourism businesses in Mekong Delta provinces and cities, and Ho Chi Minh City attended the Conference.
The Mekong river gardens attract tourists.

Heavy losses ...

The Mekong Delta by its nature has many tourism resources, attracting domestic and foreign tourists with river and garden tourism. According to figures of the Mekong Delta Tourism Association, the Mekong Delta welcomed 47 million domestic and foreign visitors in 2019, an increase of 17.5% over the previous year, tourism revenue of the whole region reached over VND 30,000 billion, an increase of 25% compared to the previous year 2018.

During the complicated COVID-19 pandemic, the Mekong Delta was considered a safe area because there were no affected cases in the community. However, the Mekong Delta tourism industry still faces many difficulties and a heavy slump. Kien Giang province has been the leading tourist province in the Mekong Delta for many years, but in the first 4 months of 2020, the province welcomed only over 1.79 million visitors, a decrease of 40% over the same period and reached only 19.2% of the plan set for 2020. Only 536,000 visitors stayed, 142,000 of whom were international visitors, and domestic visitors were 394,000, a fall by 54.7% over the same period last year. Total revenue from tourism decreased by 51.7% over the same period ...

Can Tho, the center of the Mekong Delta, also suffered many severe damages. According to the report of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Can Tho, 81 accommodation establishments, including 2 5-star hotels, 6 4-star hotels, 8 3-star hotels, and the rest. are 1-2 star hotels, homestays ...had to pause their operation. 47/63 travel agencies and all 33 tourism sites, destinations, and gardens temporarily closed. Mr. Nguyen Minh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Can Tho, said: “Tourism operations of Can Tho were seriously influenced by COVID-19. The operation results in the first quarter of 2020 significantly decreased compared to the same period, and almost all tourism businesses had to temporarily stopped operating ... ”. In the first quarter of 2020, the total number of visitors to Can Tho was only about 284,795, of which the international visitors were 40,570, domestic tourists were 244,225, down 59.4% over the same period last year; The total revenue from tourism just over VND 433.71 billion, down 62.1% compared to the first quarter of 2019 ...

"Safe tourism" opens the incentive program

Right from the beginning of May 2020, Vietnam Tourism Association has cooperated with 27 tourism associations of provinces and cities nationwide to organize an online conference "Solutions to recover tourism after COVID-19". Mr. Nguyen Huu Tho, Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said that: the domestic tourism market should be restored first, and the international market will be taken into account in the future. The pandemic-free areas should be selected for promotion. The forms such as sea tourism, ecotourism, food tourism, convalescence...  should be introduced to tourists. Do not organize trans- Viet tours, just tours to this region or other regions with longer time stays for visit and convalescence and less moving. Organize Famtrips, Presstrips for surveys, and select tourism products to promote to tourists ... Vietnam Tourism Association has chosen the Mekong Delta, a very beautiful safe COVID 19-free area with a lot of tourism potentials, to open the national incentive program for domestic tourism.

The Mekong river gardens attract tourists.

At the conference "Deploying major tasks in restoring and stimulating tourism in the Mekong Delta after the COVID-19 pandemic" recently held in Can Tho, Mr. Le Thanh Phong, Permanent Vice Chairman of Mekong Delta Tourism Association, said: “Right after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic tourists will be the target market for Mekong Delta tourism. The choice of tourist destination will change. "Safe tourism" will be the priority criteria for visitors. Therefore, the topic "Safe tourism" in communication to implement the stimulation of tourism is an important issue to improve the competitiveness of tourism products, contributing to attracting more and more domestic tourists to the Mekong Delta. As the reopening of flight routes is still limited, tourists come to the Mekong Delta possibly by road, especially by personal vehicles. Therefore, the domestic tourist market of the Mekong Delta maybe Ho Chi Minh City, the Southeast and the Central Coast provinces, etc. ".

According to the Mekong Delta Tourism Association, 100 enterprises in 13 provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta participate in the "Mekong Delta tourism incentive program after COVID-19". They are tourism sites, tourist attractions, entertainment, restaurants, hotels, travel, aviation ... with discounts from 10-50%. The incentive program has been implemented throughout the Mekong Delta provinces and cities; in which, priority is given to cooperation and association with Ho Chi Minh City, the center of the eastern and western clusters (Can Tho, Kien Giang, Phu Quoc, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Tien Giang ...) as key points, and promote the role of typical tourist sites and members of Mekong Delta Tourism Association. Encourage localities and businesses to build new tourist products and improve the quality of tourism products with safety and attractiveness to stimulate tourist needs.

According to travel agencies, the current leading factor for attracting tourists is not only good products and services but also "Safe tourism". Ms. Le Dinh Minh Thy, Director of Vietravel Can Tho, said that the top factor that attracts visitors after the COVID-19 outbreak is "safety". The tendency is small groups of travelers who are family members or young people. To stimulate these groups’ demand, we must have preferential prices, reasonable costs, transport by air and road should not only be reduced or remained unchanged in prices but also be increased in service quality. Travel agencies cannot offer a discount of 20-40% without the combined efforts of enterprises in accommodation, dining, sightseeing, transportation ...

According to Mr. Trinh Cong Vinh, Chairman of the Bac Lieu Tourism Association, besides the implementation of stimulus solutions, localities should have solutions to refresh, upgrade and add more tourism products to attract tourists.“Bac Lieu authorities are promoting new investments in agricultural tourism products and experiential tours in Hong Dan district and Phuoc Long district to form a new tourist route for Phung Hiep - Ca Mau road which connects Can Tho with Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, as well as with Kien Gang. If coming to the provinces of Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Ben Tre, Can Tho, visitors can experience the garden- river products, then in Hong Dan and Phuoc Long visitors will experience the farm tourism products ... "- said Mr. Vinh.

In order for the Mekong Delta tourism to attract tourists, not only stimulating demands by discounts but also by improvement in the quality of products and services should be made, and products should be refreshed in parallel. Mr. Nguyen Khanh Tung, Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Can Tho, said that Can Tho City is having many new products namely New day on Son islet at Son islet community tourism; My Khanh tourist village with the floating market model; river and sea tourism with high-speed boats between Can Tho and Con Dao, Can Tho - Chau Doc by Victoria yacht ...

The aviation industry also actively participate in the stimulus program "Vietnamese people travel to Vietnam". Airlines are resuming domestic flights, with attractive promotional prices such as Can Tho - Hanoi round trip tickets are only about VND1.02-1.5 million. Mr. Dang Minh Viet, Head of Vietnam Airlines- Can Tho Branch said: From April 27 Vietnam Airline (VNA) has re-operated the Can Tho - Hanoi route with a frequency of 3 flights/day; From June 12, the Can Tho - Da Nang route started operating with a frequency of 1 trip/day. Retail price for Can Tho – Hanoi one -way ticket is from 810,000 VND (including taxes and fees), Can Tho - Da Nang one -way ticket is from 700,000 VND (including taxes and fees). To help stimulate tourism in the Mekong Delta, in June, VNA will launch many new routes such as Can Tho - Hai Phong, Can Tho - Vinh, Can Tho - Buon Ma Thuot, Hai Phong - Phu Quoc ...

Tourism businesses, restaurants, hotels, tourism destinations, travel agencies, airlines ... have joined hands to stimulate tourism demand for the Mekong Delta "Vietnamese people travel to Vietnam". Hopefully, the COVID 19-free Mekong Delta is a safe destination, along with tourism resources from rural rivers and gardens with charming scenery will attract more and more tourists, and tourism in the Mekong Delta will then revive more strongly soon ...

Source: Can Tho Newspaper - Translated by Thu Tat

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