Ministry proposes financial support for pandemic-struck tour guides

By Nguyen Quy   June 22, 2021 | 12:21 am PT
Ministry proposes financial support for pandemic-struck tour guides
A tour guide (R) is with a group of foreign visitors in HCMC, January 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Nam.
The tourism ministry suggested tour guides who lost their jobs to Covid-19 should be added to the government list of financial aid beneficiaries.

Tourism has been one of the hardest hit sectors since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Vietnam in January last year; however, pandemic-affected tour guides have not yet obtained access to the government's financial support packages, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism stated in a proposal sent to the labor ministry.

The ministry proposed affected tour guides be supported with VND5.4 million ($233.65) per person. It proposed the same support for 2,000 artists including actors, directors and painters affected by the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, over 26,000 tour guides were licensed to operate in the country, including 16,000 specializing in outbound tours, according to ministry stats.

Vietnam’s tourism industry experienced one of the most difficult periods in its history last year when Covid-19 slashed the number of foreign arrivals by nearly 79 percent to 3.8 million.

Industry revenues plunged nearly 56 percent to VND17.9 trillion as flights were canceled and people became reluctant to travel due to fears of contracting the novel coronavirus.

A report by Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) revealed up to 90 percent of tourism companies are in dire straits. Most of these businesses have had to let their employees stay home without pay, the report added.

In early April last year, the government approved a VND62 trillion ($2.6 billion) financial support package, targeting poor people and small businesses affected by the pandemic.

Workers who have lost their jobs for two weeks or more are eligible for support, but in reality, administrative procedures have prevented many from receiving any.

Vietnam is battling a more widespread outbreak since last April, resulting in closure of tourist destinations and theaters.

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