Travel companies and hotels in the Vietnamese provinces of Khanh Hoa and Quang Ninh, regions that depend heavily on Chinese tourists, are worried that the lack of tourists coming from the neighbouring country could push them to bankruptcy.
1. China’s zero-Covid policy
Despite having reopened international tourism in mid-March, Vietnam is struggling to receive Chinese tourists due to Beijing’s zero-Covid-19 policy with lockdown measures and strict entry restrictions.
Ha Long Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh, which borders China, has been a favorite destination among Chinese visitors.
The lack of Chinese tourists has caused my company to lose 60-70 percent of its revenues, and I fear we can’t hold out much longer and will go bankrupt.Ngo Van Nam, director of the Quang Nam Trade and Tour Company
The business is operating just four tourist boats instead of the 10 it used to. Nam said that before the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese tourists accounted for 60% of his customers and they visited the bay between August to April.
2. Fears of bankruptcy
According to the Ha Long Tourist Boat Association, 70% of 500 plus tourist boats in the world-famous bay currently remain idle. With business being sluggish, Nam still has to pay more than 70 million VND a month in employee salaries, maintenance, berthing fees and bank loans.
Domestic tourism has helped the sector’s recovery, but tourists only visit Ha Long on weekends and his boats remain idle on weekdays, according to Nam.
Other businesses are struggling, too. Ngo Thanh Tung, director of the Tung Van Tourism Company, said he has 11 tourist boats but only four have resumed sailing. Tung said he was eager for the return of Chinese tourists who account for 90% of his passengers.
Before the pandemic, each boat served two groups of Chinese tourists every day.
I just sold my two-star hotel to save my fleet and if Chinese tourists don’t come back soon, I could be on the verge of bankruptcy.Ngo Thanh Tung, director of the Tung Van Tourism Company
On 16 March, Vietnam announced the end of quarantine for international travellers, as the country sought to restart its tourism industry after two years of strict restrictions due to Covid-19.