Coronavirus costs HCMC $40 mln in tourism revenues

By Dat Nguyen   February 27, 2020 | 10:58 pm PT
Coronavirus costs HCMC $40 mln in tourism revenues
Tourists visit the War Remnants Museum in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City in February 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Tam Linh.
The Covid-19 outbreak has cost HCMC at least VND920.5 billion ($40 million) in tourism revenues with prospective visitors cancelling travel plans.

Almost 88,000 Vietnamese and international tourists have scrapped their plans to visit the city since the novel coronavirus outbreak, according a survey of 22 major tourism companies in the city by the HCMC Department of Tourism.

Foreign tourist arrivals in the first two months fell 62 percent year-on-year to almost 335,800, Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the department, told reporters.

Hotels, restaurants and convention centers are all reporting plummeting revenues; some have had to let their staff go.

The staff strength at Novotel Saigon Centre in District 3 has dropped 25 percent, and at the Tan Son Nhat Saigon Hotel, 20 percent.

24 three to five star hotels are set to see their revenues drop a whopping 62.5 percent in the next two months over the same period last year, the department said.

Many tour companies have canceled trips to South Korea, Japan and Italy between March and August as the novel coronavirus outbreak spreads.

The epidemic could strip Vietnam of tourism revenues of between $7-15 billion this year, according to the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board.

Tourism officials have assured the public at large that Vietnam is now safe to travel,with the country not recording any new Covid-19 infections in the last two weeks and all 16 patients detected with the virus so far have been discharged.

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