In the spirit of safe and flexible adaptation and effective control of COVID-19, as soon as the epidemic situation was controlled, Ho Chi Minh City rapidly issued a tourism recovery plan. In addition to focusing on domestic tourism market, the city authorities proposed many specific measures to ensure safety for international visitors and expatriates.
Completing safety criteria
On the first day of the new year 2022, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism successfully held a ceremony to welcome the first domestic tourists with many gifts and promotional programmes for the lucky guests. Earlier, the City Tourism Week themed “Ho Chi Minh City – my beloved city” was organised for the first time, "heating up" the tourism market following a long period of being “frozen”.
It can be said that this is an impetus that created a safe corridor for welcoming international visitors in 2022. According to Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism Bui Thi Ngoc Hieu, the city’s authorities have witnessed obvious positive changes since late September 2021, as shifting from the state of “closing to control epidemic” to safe and flexible adaptation and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic.
From October 2021, the Department of Tourism has advised the City People's Committee to develop a tourism recovery plan, in adaptation to COVID-19 with specific stages. The department defined four key tasks to restore all tourism activities in 2022. Accordingly, the department has consulted with the City People's Committee to adjust, supplement and complete the set of criteria for safety with COVID-19 in tourism. In addition, the department coordinated with and supported enterprises to promote the city’s brand, via all platforms as well as boosted digital transformations to provide international friends with essential information. The authorities will improve the quality of tourism services and pay great attention to introducing the city’s identities to attract more visitors in 2022 and the coming years.
The City Department of Tourism has also quickly resumed regional linkage activities, especially with localities that have controlled the pandemic well, thereby opening inter-provincial tours to Ben Tre, Long An and several northern mountainous and central provinces. Director of the City Department of Tourism Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa said many new programmes in the inner city have been constructed and exploited since the late months of last year. In addition, the department announced a set of tourism sources with 366 destinations which have been promoted via Google maps. Many unique programmes and destinations have also been via online platforms and websites, contributing to “turning risks into opportunities” for the city to quickly adapt and promptly change management models, she added.
Tourists visit Cu Chi Tunnels. (Photo: ND)
Businesses ready to welcome international visitors
Since late 2021, several travel enterprises have piloted new tours in preparation for welcoming domestic and foreign tourists in 2022. Nguyen Minh Man, Director of Communications-Marketing from TST Tourist Company said the company has formed short-term city tours, such as the tours to Thu Duc city and Can Gio district. In addition, the city developed tours to the north-western region, attracting many visitors. He believed that the new tours are attractive not only for domestic tourists but also international visitors and expatriates. The Ben Thanh Tourist Company introduced many new products to bring visitors new feelings and experiences. According to Director of the Domestic Tourism Centre of Ben Thanh Tourist Company, Cao Van Tung, visitors will have the chance to experience interesting activities in suburban villages and enjoy the fresh air. This will be the trend of travel units in the near future.
As an experienced organiser of tours for international visitors, Director of Vietnam Backroads Company Tran Huu Van said the company’s international guests love to experience cycling to suburban villages. Therefore, the company reviewed and developed its products to welcome international tourists.
Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Phan Thi Thang said the city’s leaders asked the Department of Tourism to continue coordination with other departments, agencies, Thu Duc city and 21 districts, to develop tourism products towards each district having at least one special product. It is crucial to enhance communications based on digital transformation to help people and visitors to explore destinations in a quick and effective manner. The City also defined that domestic tourism markets play a key role during the period of tourism recovery in 2022. The travel and service enterprises should urgently and proactively prepare safe conditions to welcome international visitors back.