Hanoi’s tourism sector moves to welcome visitors again
A man cycles on a street near Hoan Kiem Lake - a popular tourist destination in Hanoi
As the resurgence of COVID-19 in Vietnam has been basically brought under control, the tourism sector in the capital city of Hanoi has been swiftly making plans to attract visitors again and gradually return to previous levels of growth.
This time of year is Hanoi’s peak for tourism, with surging numbers of both domestic and foreign travellers.
This year, though, the situation is different.
The capital attracted just 6.29 million visitors in the first eight months of this year, tumbling 67.3 percent year-on-year, with international arrivals down 75.6 percent to just 1.02 million. Such figures have resulted in a large number of local travel companies suspending operations while many hotels have shut their doors.
With this latest outbreak being contained, industry insiders now look forward to improved business performance.
There are only two weeks left before Hanoi begins a wide range of large-scale activities to celebrate 1,010 years since it was established as Vietnam’s capital, called Thang Long at the time, such as a cultural week, a street festival, a craft village festival, a traditional boat race, a culinary festival, a calligraphy exhibition, and a dragon dance festival.
This represents an opportunity to promote local tourism after its long hiatus.
Many relic sites, places of interests, and entertainment venues have had their landscapes improved and new services opened to meet visitors’ demand.
At the Temple of Literature - a must-see destination for every visitor to Hanoi, its centre for cultural and scientific activities is creating new mementos and introducing new methods of heritage education to inspire young visitors, while also developing night tourism by installing lighting to introduce the institution’s history.
Le Xuan Kieu, director of the centre for cultural and scientific activities, said various activities will be held at the special national relic site to celebrate the 1,010th anniversary of Thang Long - Hanoi, adding that he hopes it will welcome many returning visitors.
Local entertainment venues are also revamping themselves to attract local visitors, who are believed to be the best target in plans to recover the tourism sector at this point in time.
Of these, Bao Son Paradise Park offers all-in tickets on Sundays, giving tourists entry to everywhere on site and allowing them to play 22 games an unlimited number of times. Its restaurants and accommodation services have also returned to normal, while most of its artistic performances are open and free.
Local travel companies are also moving to encourage customers to travel again, as all flight, train, and road routes to the central city of Da Nang, a major tourism centre and where the second COVID-19 outbreak started, have been resumed and many localities have reopened places of interest.
Nguyen Cong Hoan, General Director of the Flamingo Redtours JSC, said that, this time around, low prices are not the most attractive factor, as travellers are seeking unique products that offer many different experiences.
Instead of promoting all of its tours, the company has selected the most outstanding autumn destinations for itineraries, such as the northwestern region with its blooming buckwheat flowers, the Central Highlands with its wild sunflowers, and the Mekong Delta region and its flood season.
It has also developed customised tours to suit the needs of particular groups of travellers, he noted, adding that the company expects that by proactively introducing new products it can seize the opportunities a new tourism season presents.
Meanwhile, the Thuan An - Ascend Travel Services JSC has restarted tours to northwestern destinations like Sa Pa and Ha Giang along with coastal and maritime localities such as Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc Island, and Con Dao Island.
The company’s director Duong Mai Lan said tours are currently being offered at very good prices, as localities and airlines are both carrying out travel demand stimulus packages aimed at attracting visitors.
According to the Hanoi Tourism Department, the successful containment of the second outbreak of COVID-19 has provided an opportunity for the local tourism sector to revive and thrive.
It has worked with the Hanoi Tourism Association, travel clubs, airlines, hotels, and destinations to discuss tourism development solutions in the new context. It has asked tourism service providers and places of interest to diversify products, introduce travel demand stimulus policies, and reorganise their activities to improve efficiency.