Quang Binh moves to welcome back visitors after COVID-19

Still suffering from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Quang Binh province was hit hard by the recent historic rains and floods in early October. However, the provincial hospitality sector has exerted every effort to overcome its difficulties, poured more investment into upgrading tourist infrastructure, and implemented tourism stimulus programmes to welcome back visitors after the pandemic.

Quang Binh province offers large discount on tours of some famous caves in the province.
Quang Binh province offers large discount on tours of some famous caves in the province.

Tourism hit hard by massive floods

According to the provincial People’s Committee, rains and floods caused serious damage to the tourist infrastructure system and services at Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park.

As the site’s management board utilise natural materials such as bamboo and rattan, most of the infrastructure at the park was severely destroyed and required a lot of time to repair.

Meanwhile, at Chay River - Dark Cave tourist site, hundreds of metres of wooden stairs as well as equipment for tourist activities inside the caves were swept away by floodwaters, with total damage of nearly VND750 million.

At the same time, the Mooc stream ecotourism area temporarily closed its gate for visitors due to torrential rain and flooding.

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The wooden stair system at Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park covered by a layer of mud after floods. (Photo: baoquangbinh.vn)

Thien Duong cave tourist site also faced a similar situation as the fast flowing flood waters washed away everything in their path

Statistics from the Phong Nha - Ke Bang Tourist Centre showed that floods caused more than VND3.8 billion in losses across the tourist sites in the complex.

According to experts, it is more difficult to implement tourist activities in localities which are commonly affected by floods, like Quang Binh, as investors may have to invest in these works many times. For example, soon after Thien Duong cave opened for visitors in 2010, floods swept away the wooden stair system inside the cave, requiring the Truong Thinh Group, the manager and investor of the site, to reinvest money and build new ones. This year, the stair system was destroyed again due to floods.

Striving to welcome back tourists

In mid-December, Quang Binh provincial People's Council approved a resolution on reducing entrance fees at local tourism destinations, which will take effect from January 1, 2021 to the end of December 31, 2021.

Accordingly, tourists in the province next year will enjoy a 20% discount on entrance fees to Phong Nha, Tien Son and Thien Duong caves, Mooc stream ecotourism area, and Song Chay River - Dark Cave tourist site.

Up to 50% discounts are also available on tours to En caves, Sinh Ton (Survival) valley, Va, Nuoc Nut and Tu Lan caves.

In response to the resolution, Oxalis Adventure company has launched a tourism stimulus program for their adventure tours in 2021. Accordingly, when booking a Hang Va Expedition 2 Days, visitors will receive a bonus of one night stay at Chay Lap Farmstay, prior to the departure date.

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Tourists slide down a zip line in Quang Binh Province.

For the Tu Lan Expedition 4 Days, guests will be given 2 nights at Chay Lap Farmstay before and after the tour. In addition, they will get a free two-way transfer from Oxalis between Dong Hoi Centre and Chay Lap Farmstay when participating in the Tu Lan 4 Day Expedition.

The company has also upgraded the facilities used in its tours, such as adding Jungle Steambath to help visitors enjoy a steam bath upon arriving at the campsite in the afternoon, improving the environmentally-friendly toilet, enhancing the professional skills of tour guides, and operating training courses for chefs to increase the quality of the meals on the tours.

Other travel businesses in Quang Binh have provided discounts of 10% to 30% off on their products and services while affirming tourist’s safety in accordance with current regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control.

It is expected that the close coordination between local authorities and travel businesses will result in encouraging outcomes for the provincial hospitality sector, helping it rejuvenate after COVID-19.