Covid-19 rains on Vietnam tourism parade

The country welcomed 3.83 million foreign tourists against a record 18 million in 2019, according to data from the General Statistics Office. The government set a target of 20 million at the start of the year.

Visitors from China, traditionally Vietnam’s largest tourist market, fell 83.5% to 959,200, followed by South Korea (80.4%) and Japan (78.4%).

A street in Hoi An left deserted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, July 2020. Photo by Do Anh Vu.

Revenues from accommodation and food services were VND 510.4 trillion ($ 22.12 billion), down 13% year-on-year, while revenues from residential services were down 13% year-on-year. travel agencies amounted to VND 17.9 trillion ($ 776 million), a decrease of 59.5%.

Vietnam has struggled with two waves of Covid-19, the first at the end of January and the second at the end of July, which weighed heavily on its tourism.

The government has closed national borders and canceled all international flights since March 25, with only Vietnamese returnees, foreign experts and highly skilled workers allowed entry under strict conditions.

The government recently gave the green light to resume commercial flights to seven Asian destinations, mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, but Vietnamese carriers are still not authorized to perform inbound flights.

Historic flooding in the central region has also hampered tourism. Between early October and mid-November, the region and parts of the central highlands were hit by a succession of storms that brought torrential rains and caused severe flooding and landslides.

Thanks to its strict quarantine and contact tracing measures, Vietnam has been hailed around the world for containing Covid-19 outbreaks, keeping the tally at 1,441 and deaths at 35 in a country of 96 million. Many economic powers such as the United States, Japan, China and the United Kingdom were struggling to contain them.

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