Novel coronavirus fear slows down Vietnam's thriving tourism industry

Luu Van Dat Tuesday | 02/04/2020 15:50

The coronavirus outbreak in China has been causing shocks to global travel and tourism and is expected to further impact the business in Vietnam, which has witnessed significant growth in recent years.

Vietnam’s real estate market is not the exception, especially in the hospitality and retail segment, Mauro Gasparotti, director of Savills Hotels Asia-Pacific said in a report to local media.

Vietnamese government has started to respond the pandemic by suspending all flights to and from coronavirus-hit areas in China.

On the other hand, also outbound restrictions have been placed on Chinese tourists by Chinese government to contain the spread of virus, causing a severe loss in several countries due to China’s status as the world's largest outbound tourism market.

The virus outbreak has resulted in a wave of tour and rooms cancellations not only by Chinese tourists but also global travelers who had travel plans to Asia.

Several airlines around the world have reduced or cancelled flights to and from China, including Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airlines, Cathay Pacific.

Vietnam received 18 million foreign tourists in 2019, up 16% from 2018. Photo:
Vietnam received 18 million foreign tourists in 2019, up 16% from 2018. Photo:

Vietnam is no exception as the country is already experiencing the negative consequences caused by this global pandemic.

Gasparotti warned that the emergence of coronavirus has caused impacts on Vietnam tourism, all of which would possibly hurt Vietnam hospitality this year. It is expected that the number of Chinese travelers who made up the largest proportion of foreign tourists to Vietnam in 2019, accounting for over 30% will fall sharply.

Coastal destinations would face the same issue with destination like Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa expected to be particularly affected as China was the biggest source of arrivals accounting for more than 70% of foreign visitors to the province, according to Khanh Hoa Department of Tourism.

Hotels have started to receive a handful of cancellation requests over the last few weeks by not only group and MICE guests but also independent travelers.

Main cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City would also be negatively affected by the slowdown of MICE and corporate travelers as a series of meetings, conferences and oversea trips have been postponed or cancelled due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus.

The other impact of coronavirus to Vietnam is the significant expected decline in global demand to Asian countries which will likely be perceived to be at higher risks of coronavirus compared to other destinations.

Destinations like Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam would be expecting a temporary slowdown in travelers from Europe, Australia, United States, where leisure groups are more likely to cancel or postpone their trips due to the fear of outbreaks.

In 2019, Vietnam received 18 million foreign visitors, an increase of 16% against 2019. Last year, the industry insiders reported $31.3 billion tourism revenue, data from General Statistics Office shows.  

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