The impacts of COVID-19
Tourism is the product of exchange and integration. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism is directly affected in many aspects: travel, accommodation, services ... and the most severe was the people who work in the tourism industry.
In terms of Can Tho tourism, in the first 3 months of 2020, the number of tourists reached less than 50% compared to the same period last year. The total revenue was just over 751 billion VND, down by 36% over the same period last year. Tourist agencies and services in Can Tho were seriously affected by the temporary suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some popular events such as the Southern Folk Cake Festival, art shows, especially the National Đờn Ca Tài Tử (Southern folk music) Festival hosted by Can Tho city on May 4th, were all postponed.
In the first quarter of 2020, the tourism industry of An Giang province was also greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as seen in the decrease in the number of tourists, the low occupancy rate, and the temporary shutdown of many hotels and restaurants. Particularly, the number of tourists to An Giang was only 30% of the plan and the revenue from tourism activities only reached 23%. Bac Lieu tourism also suffered heavy losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. After Tet holiday is the golden time for Bac Lieu to attract tourists with famous destinations and events such as Visit Quan Am Phat Dai Temple (Bac Lieu city), visit Tay Sac church and place of pilgrimage (Gia Rai district) ... However, the city only welcomed about 160,000 visitors in March.
Over the past 2 years, with the direction of the Government, Ho Chi Minh City has played an active role in coordinating and connecting with provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta. However, due to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ho Chi Minh City's tourism faces many difficulties. According to the latest statistics of the Department of Tourism of Ho Chi Minh City, the number of international visitors in March 2020 reached only 117,000, down 84.23% compared to the same period in 2019. In the first 3 months of 2020, the number of visitors to the city was estimated at over 1.3 million, reaching only 14.49% of the city tourism plan in 2020 and down 42.26% over the same period last year. It can be seen clearly that the revenue from tourism in Ho Chi Minh City also decreased during this period.
Plans to “overcome difficulties”
Not waiting for the outbreak of COVID-19 to be controlled, the Mekong Delta tourism with the leading role of Ho Chi Minh City has actively found ways to "overcome difficulties" and ready to "restart".
Recently, the Department of Tourism of Ho Chi Minh City has sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism to propose urgent tasks and solutions to overcome difficulties in production, ensure social security and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Three important proposals are supported for institutional and administrative reforms in tourism; support the program to promote the application of information technology; support the training program for human resources in tourism. These key issues are necessary for Vietnam tourism today. These proposals are also consistent with the current situation of Mekong Delta tourism as more digital applications are needed in tourism services to improve the quality of people working in the tourism industry.
For the Mekong Delta region, many solutions have been prepared and planned. The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Can Tho city is developing a propaganda plan on Can Tho tourism as a safe destination and a solution to stimulate tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. Besides Ninh Kieu, Binh Thuy, Phong Dien, Cai Rang, the Department will cooperate with tourist units and enterprises to survey and effectively exploit indigenous resources to develop tourism.
The Department of Culture, Information, Sports, and Tourism of Bac Lieu province also has many feasible solutions to stimulate tourism in Bac Lieu after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. For example, build and improve the tourist information center of Bac Lieu province in the Memorial Area of Don Ca Tai Tu (Southern folk music) and composer Cao Van Lau; coordinate with the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Promotion Center to issue many publications, brochures, photos, tourist guide books of Bac Lieu; promote Bac Lieu tourism on national television ...
Besides localities’ efforts, tourist companies and households are also very active in finding solutions. People doing community-based tourism in Con Son islet (Binh Thuy district, Can Tho city) take advantage of the lockdown period to improve the facilities and services. Therefore, every family here renovates their houses and gardens, creates more activities and services for visitors such as making “cốm nổ” (young rice cake), Fishing by draining water in a ditch on the ground... In Hau Giang province, other activities such as visit Lung Ngoc Hoang Nature reserve, or a boat trip on Xa No canal are in preparation, promising to be interesting products in the upcoming time when the pandemic is under control.
Source: Can Tho Newspaper - Translated by Hoang Dat