As the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) has resulted in multiple tour cancellations, travel firms have taken innovative measures with special promotions to woo visitors.
Nguyen Cong Hoan, general director of city-based HanoiRedtour, shared with VIR that it took about three months for inbound tours to recover from the previous SARS outbreak, whereas outbound tours took even longer.
In May 2003, Vietnam declared SARS a national epidemic. The local travel market rebounded in July. Shortly after that, both local and international travel saw sound recovery as travel demand was contained in the previous period.
“We, therefore, are ramping up efforts to attract visitors right from now,” said Hoan.
|Promotions helped visitor figures from Europe rebound from the impacts of COVID-19
While waiting for incentives from regulatory bodies such as loosened visa policy, promotion activities at key and potential markets or more distant markets to lure visitors, local travel firms have been teaming up to offer outbound tours to safe destinations in Europe, Russia, or Africa.
A representative from Saigontourist Group unveiled that their member units have deployed plans to effectively tap into visitor sources and develop auxiliary services to enhance revenue streams, with priority given to exploiting the local tourism market.
For instance, Saigontourist offers tours to distinct local destinations with attractive price packages, like the three day, two-night Danang-Hoi An tour at VND3.6 million ($160) with departure from Ho Chi Minh City, or the three day, three-night Dalat tour that comes at VND2.99 million ($130) with departure from Can Tho.
Meanwhile, HanoiRedtour offers eight-day, seven-night tours to discover classic Europe with promotional prices from VND13 million ($570), lower than in the previous year.
VietSense Travel sells seven-day tours to Europe for VND36.9 million ($1,600), more than VND10 million ($430) less than last year.
“We make no profit on most tours on offer this time. Retaining customers is our top priority now,” said Nguyen Van Tai, general director of VietSense Travel, adding that the challenge in dealing with health risks also brings opportunities to upgrade the company’s material and technical base, as well improving business and management expertise.
Currently, most travel firms are taking initiative in seeking new markets to attract visitors right after the outbreak cools down.
“Considering new destinations that are safe zones to the disease and suite the capacity and conditions of each company is a viable option,” said Hoan from HanoiRedtour.
He also stressed the need for firms in the hospitality industry to offer joint promotions (such as offering discounts to ticket fares or hotel charges) to appeal to visitors and ensure the efficiency of demand-stimulating measures.
According to Hanoi Department of Tourism, visitors from Asian countries to Hanoi currently account for 65 per cent of the total, while those from Europe make up 25 per cent. Due to the implications of COVID-19, the number of Chinese visitors to Vietnam took a nosedive, yet those coming from other markets have maintained stable growth, with the number of visitors from Japan jumping 200 per cent or those from India 65 per cent.VIR