DANANG – Local governments in the central region are carefully reopening some sites. A number of tourism companies are preparing to resume their businesses, asking tourists to keep space of two meters apart in cable cars, outdoor spaces, hotels, restaurants and at food stands.
Newspapers and social networks have shared the news that the Danang People’s Committee allowed Sun World Resort Ba Na Hills to reopen its doors from April 30 (Vietnam’s Reunification Day).
The excitement is understandable as workers are on holiday for four days for Reunification Day and May Day while social distancing requirements are being relaxed at many tourist destinations. Meanwhile, Sun World Ba Na Hills is considered a must-see destination for tourists visiting Danang even though the tickets are not cheap, ranging from VND500,000 to VND700,000.
According to statistics gathered by Sun Group, the site investor, some 50% of tourists visiting Danang annually choose to visit this world-renowned site, featuring the golden hand bridge. Last year, the central coastal city received 8.69 million local and foreign tourists.
However, great care is being taken in reopening tourist sites. The resumption of tourist services can only be possible if Vietnam sees no further cases of coronavirus infection being recorded in the community.
As such, each cable car carrying passengers up Ba Na Mountain can only bear one person at a time, instead of the usual eight.
Moreover, karaoke bars, regular bars, pubs, cinemas, massage parlors, wax museums, art performances, entertainment venues and indoor sports at the resort remain closed.
In Quang Nam Province, My Son Holy Land was reopened from April 28. However, the reopening of Hoi An Ancient Town is still under review.
According to Phan Ho, director of the Management Board of My Son Holy Land Cultural Heritage, safety requirements must be met to prevent new coronavirus outbreaks when welcoming visitors to the site. As such, visitors must stand two meters apart.
In 2019, the total number of tourists in Quang Nam Province was over 7.66 million, where 60% were international visitors. My Son Holy Land, in particular, welcomed 420,000 visitors, mostly from abroad.
Another central province, Thua Thien-Hue, is also planning to stimulate domestic tourism. The Ancient Capital Heritage area as well as historical and cultural relics, landscapes and museums were reopened from April 27. However, all these places must ensure the health and safety of employees and visitors.
The Saigon Times found that many travel companies and accommodation operators are still on standby or slowly reopening tours because they do not want to take unnecessary risks in the face of low demand. In addition, domestic flights have not seen significant increases in frequency.
“We have served few guests during this festive season,” stated Cao Tri Dung, chairman of Vietnam TravelMart, adding that Danang’s tourism sector has not yet fully reopened for business, so guests are still considering their options. “We will wait until after the holidays, when the situation may improve. Then, we will boost cooperation with (tourist) sites,” Dung remarked.
“We have opened our doors gradually,” noted Nguyen Duc Quynh, deputy general director of Furama Resort Danang, adding that the resort is running a number of accommodation and dining promotions for this festive season.
Although the three local governments have allowed hotels and resorts to reopen, the response has been modest.
The four-star Risemount hotel in Danang cannot accept guests yet because their staff have not returned to work, so some departments cannot operate smoothly. Tien Sa Lodge Hotel, located at the foot of Son Tra Mountain, is ready to welcome guests, but it cannot serve meals because the kitchen staff are not available. The service on offer here is a “comfortable swimming” experience.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Danang Tourism Association Cao Tri Dung stressed that his association has prepared plans to stimulate domestic tourism for member companies. If all goes well, these plans will roll out in the second week of May, in combination with programs run by Quang Nam and Thua Thien-Hue’s tourism industry.
Regarding the stimulus program for domestic tourism, the Thua Thien-Hue Travel Association has prepared 10 new tour packages. Once the epidemic is over, the association’s members will introduce the tours to 63 provinces and cities nationwide.
In addition, many businesses in Hue have joined some private alliances to stimulate tourism nationwide, offering tours at 40%-50% discounts.
Nguyen Van Phuc, deputy director of Thua Thien-Hue Tourism Department, explained that quick action among businesses would be needed to help the Hue tourism industry recover quickly. As a result, the provincial tourism industry has been working with Thua Thien-Hue Tourism Association to announce the stimulus packages this week.
By Nhan Tam