Hotel providers in Hanoi’s Old Quarter revive | Travel

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Ta Hien Street in Hanoi Old Quarter (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)Hospitality Providers in Hanoi’s Old Quarter are gradually recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 15, most of them have so far been brought back to life.


Intensive care

Le Vinh, owner of a chain of five-star hotels in the Old Quarter, said three- to five-star hotels in the area are doing well again. From March to June, the occupancy rate was equivalent to 10-15% of the pre-pandemic level. Since June, it has increased by 30 to 50% compared to 2019.

He added that his hotels mainly cater to foreigners from Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and India. Arrivals from India have increased compared to 2019 and continue to grow. Therefore, he set up a hotel in Nha Tho Street to accommodate Indian visitors and sell halal food to Islamic tourists.

Commercial establishments that depend on tourists, especially foreigners, such as souvenir and handicraft shops, tourist agents or spas, are increasingly busy. “For sale” or “for rent” signs are rare, unlike last year.

Le Thi Ha, owner of a restaurant on Tong Duy Tan Street, said that since the resumption of tourism, foreigners have continued to come to this kitchen street. Sometimes restaurants and eateries here are full to capacity.

She added that her restaurant’s diners averaged 95 percent, mostly from the Republic of Korea, India and Laos. The turnover has become stable.

The increase in the number of visitors to the old quarter also stimulated the revival of the spa industry. Vinh spas in the region hosted around 70-95% of those before the pandemic, mostly foreigners.

Although foreign arrivals have increased from pre-pandemic levels, the number of incoming visitors has fallen as students return to school after their summer holidays.

Additionally, inflationary pressure as well as high flight and tour prices due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict have discouraged European visitors from coming to Vietnam, not to mention lengthy visa procedures.


The visa remains a major obstacle

This was stated by the director of the Hanoitourist Company and vice-president of the Vietnamese Society of Travel Agents, Phung Quang Thang. He said inbound tourism activity was booming, particularly during peak summer hours. Foreigners, mainly from high-spending markets such as Europe, the United States, Japan and Australia, often visit Vietnam from September to March.

Vietnam National Tourism Administration Vice President Ha Van Sieu said international tourism markets are recovering, but at uneven paces. Several in Southeast Asia have jumped 30-200%, but the European market is falling short of expectations. The Chinese market alone is lackluster as strict anti-pandemic measures are still in place there.

Tien Phong Travel CEO Phung Xuan Khanh said the number of visitors coming for leisure only matters less, as most are visiting relatives or going to work.

He attributed this to the fact that several international flights and routes have yet to fully recover, leading to scarce and expensive tickets, forcing visitors to reconsider their plans.

Thang said the visa policy should be revised as soon as possible, such as extending visa exemption for high-spending markets and up to 30 days.

Nguyen Ngoc Bich, CEO of Mekong Rustic, said it is necessary to extend the visa-free period for those with high expenses so that they can relax in Vietnam for 1-6 months.

Business leaders also expressed hope that authorities will do fewer inspections and fine companies so they can feel assured of improving services, helping the green economy recover quickly.

Hanoi tourism sector should welcome 9 to 10 million visitors this year, including 1.2 to 2 million foreigners. Total revenue is expected to reach nearly $1.2 billion to over $1.5 billion.
The capital is betting on the development of tourism products where it has strengths, such as cultural and sports tourism.
It also took care to improve its communication actions to promote its image./.

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