Presiding a meeting between a mission team from the municipal People’s Committee with the Department of Tourism upon the city's socio-economic development and budget revenue yesterday, Deputy Chairwoman of the People's Committee Phan Thi Thang listened to integrated solutions presented by leaders of enterprises and departments to breathe new life into the tourism sector.
According to Director of the Department of Industry and Trade Bui Ta Hoang Vu, the city should have a strategic plan for smart tourism. The Department has been launching two big promotion programs to encourage visitors to spend more as well as open more facilities for tourists’ value-added tax refund.
Director Vu petitioned to connect localities and localities adding that HCMC authorities should have financial supports for small and medium enterprises to prop up them through present difficulties.
At the meeting, the Department of Transport informed that this year, there will be high-speed vessels from HCMC to Con Dao Island in the Southern Province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau.
Deputy director of Saigontourist Group Nguyen Dong Hoa said Saigontourist understood that international visitors would not arrive in Vietnam this year amid Covid-19 spread; hence, it switched to taking care of domestic travelers. He petitioned for assistance for travel companies as it is forecast that 2021 will be a difficult year for the tourism sector as the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the travel industry to its knees.
Deputy Chairman of HCMC Tourism Association Lai Minh Duy said that holiday-makers in the Northern and Central regions are interested in sightseeing tours in the southern metropolis; accordingly, the city should pay attention to opening more tourist destinations to lure more visitors to the city. He thought cooperation between the Department of Industry and Trade and the Department of Tourism is needed to launch promotion programs.
Mr. Duy recalled prior periods during the SARS outbreak in 2003 and highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 in poultry. At that time, VAT was reduced to zero percent to encourage travel and consumption. Similarly, at the moment, travel operators also need such supports to overcome difficulties.
The Department of Tourism’s primary statistics shows that as of the middle of March, 2021, roughly 90 percent of small and medium inbound tour operators temporarily stopped their operation. Meanwhile 10 percent and 40 percent of tour guides for international tours and domestic tours respectively still work in the sector. Freelance tour guides have been struggling to find ways to support their family; many of them started selling commodities online, insurance and property.
Director of the Department of Tourism Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa said that there should be measures to build a more resilient tourism economy including tax exemption and reduction as well as assist travel agents to access to preferential loans and lower interest rates.