HCMC launches online booking service for hotel quarantine
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A room of A&Em Saigon Hotel in HCMC's District that serves as a paid quarantine facility. Photo courtesy of the hotel.
Those in close contact with Covid patients wishing to be quarantined in HCMC hotels can book rooms or transportation via mobile travel booking app Traveloka from Aug. 1.
It is part of efforts between the city's Department of Tourism and Traveloka, a leading hotel and flight booking platform in Southeast Asia, to help high-risk people easily book hotel rooms for mandatory quarantine and reduce overload at centralized isolation facilities amid the worsening pandemic situation.
People can search for information of nearly 80 hotels designated as paid quarantine facilities in Ho Chi Minh City, room types, room rates as well as transportation services for quarantined people. After booking, they can make online payments.
Le Truong Hien Hoa, director of the city's tourism promotion center, said HCMC is the first locality in Vietnam to pilot the digitization of quarantine hotel booking service and transportation services for those in close contact with Covid patients.
He said the service would expand to international visitors in the coming time while it opens up opportunities for hotels and travel agencies to transform their business model in response to the current pandemic situation.
The Health Ministry earlier cut the centralized quarantine period by seven days to 14 after consulting with international organizations.
Three- to five-star hotels in the city chosen as paid quarantine facilities are offering rooms at VND1.2-5 million ($50-200) a night.
The hospitality industry has been devastated by the lack of tourists, with three- to five-star hotels reporting a 70 percent fall in revenues and some even temporarily closing down in the first half of this year, the tourism department revealed.
The city received 7.1 million domestic tourists in the first five months this year, down 47 percent from 2019, and earned revenues of VND35.5 trillion ($1.54 billion), down 37 percent.
HCMC is now the epicenter of the ongoing wave that hit the country in late April. The southern metropolis has recorded 96,292 infections to date.