Vietnam offers cut-price paradise to lure local travellers post coronavirus
In Phu Quoc, a Vietnamese island off the coast of Cambodia, posters warning tourists of the dangers of COVID-19 have long since faded in the powerful sunshine, along with the throngs of international travellers that used to dot its beaches.
Vietnam recorded a 98% fall in visitors this April compared to 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but its success in fighting the virus, posting only 324 cases and no deaths, now sees it set to breathe life back into its tourism industry.
Vietnam will be one of the first Southeast Asian nations to start to revive its economy, but with a ban still in place on foreign visitors, and many of their major tourist markets under lockdown, hotels and resorts are discounting paradise to make it more attractive to local travellers.
At the Mango Bay resort in Phu Quoc, staff in surgical masks served icy cocktails and chilled glasses of white wine to small groups of guests, many of them young urban tourists, from Hanoi or from Ho Chi Minh City.
General manager Ronan Le Bihan said the resort now needed to adapt to local tastes.
“Tourist businesses targeting foreign tourists will be in trouble for a long time,” said Bihan. “We can now focus on the Vietnamese market. But that is a very large term. And not all Vietnamese are interested in what we offer.”
By James Pearson – Reuters – May 19, 2020