Cruise ship owners seek govt support to survive Covid impacts

By Hoang Phong   June 29, 2021 | 04:54 am PT
Cruise ship owners seek govt support to survive Covid impacts
A cruise ship on Lan Ha Bay in Hai Phong City. Photo courtesy of Scarlet Pearl.
Dozens of overnight cruise ship operators on Lan Ha Bay in Hai Phong have asked local authorities to support them as the pandemic halts tourism activities.

The ship operators have asked authorities to free entry tickets for visitors to Lan Ha Bay until the end of this year to stimulate domestic tourism in a similar move to neighboring Ha Long Bay, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

The operators also proposed a 50 percent discount on sightseeing tickets for overnight cruises on Lan Ha Bay until the end of 2022. Currently, the sightseeing ticket for an overnight cruise service costs VND300,000 ($13.01) a night.

They also suggested that city authorities consider scrapping berthing service fees until the end of 2022.

"Last year, we were forced to temporarily suspend operations for months and earned almost no revenue. In the first half of this year, our business continues to be impacted heavily by the latest pandemic wave and the situation could last for some time," the ship operators said in their petition.

Although most of the operators have had little or no revenue for more than a year and a half, they have still invested hundreds of billions of dong (VND1 billion = $43,371) on infrastructure and facilities to keep their business afloat.

Other expenses include employee salaries, maintenance and berthing fees.

In mid-June, the owners of 500 cruise ships on the world-famous Ha Long Bay also submitted a petition to the government for support, stating they were on the verge of bankruptcy.

Lan Ha Bay is to the east of Cat Ba Islands in the coastal city of Hai Phong, northern Vietnam. The 7,000-hectare bay is home to around 400 islands, all of them covered with trees and other vegetation.

The bay is home to the Cai Beo fishing village, said to be the oldest of its kind in Vietnam and considered a living museum of Vietnamese fishing culture.

Authorities in Hai Phong have allowed tourist destinations to reopen from June 13 but they only serve people living and working in the city.

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