Travel firms on tenterhooks as Hanoi classified at medium Covid risk
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A cruise ship in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Province, October 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Cuong
Hanoi’s updated coronavirus-risk status has affected northern tourism activities as travelers cancel hotel bookings and travel firms delay tours.
On Nov. 1, Hanoi's People Committee shifted the city's coronavirus risk status from low to medium after the capital recorded a series of new community transmissions.
Pham Ha, chairman of tour operator Lux Group, said his company was forced to cancel two overnight Ha Long Bay cruises booked by Hanoi tourists from Nov. 3-4 and 6-7.
According to the latest regulations, authorities in Quang Ninh Province, home to world-famous bay, reopened domestic tourism from Nov. 1 and only mentioned that tourists from green zones with low Covid risk are allowed, prompting the company to reschedule both cruises.
Bui Thanh Tu, marketing director of travel firm Best Price, said his company also faced the same situation and has persuaded customers to delay their trips.
Representatives of tourism businesses in Quang Ninh said they have not received instructions on whether they can receive tourists from areas with medium or high Covid risks.
Though intra-provincial tourism resumed in September, the number of visitors remained low, affecting tourism businesses reliant on the domestic market.
Hanoi is the main source of tourists in the northern region.
Huong Thao, owner of Nomadtrails Boutique Sapa Hotel in Lao Cai Province, said most bookings made last week have been cancelled.
Currently, people from areas with medium coronavirus risks are required to monitor their health at home or place of accommodation for seven days, forcing tourists from Hanoi to cancel their trips.
Nguyen Hieu, CEO of Vitamin Tours that operates in Sa Pa, said around 30 percent of the company’s customers delayed their trips last week.
Sa Pa is experiencing its cold and dry season, attracting many tourists from Hanoi for packages of three days and two nights.
As the pandemic situation is put under control, many popular tourism hotspots have reopened. However, quarantine requirements remain a bottleneck with many localities still requiring visitors to self-monitor their health upon arrival for seven to 14 days even when fully vaccinated.