90 pct of Vietnamese travel firms seek government loans

By Nguyen Quy   April 21, 2020 | 06:32 pm PT
90 pct of Vietnamese travel firms seek government loans
A woman rides past the HCMC People's Committee building which is deserted amid the social distancing campaign, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Son Dong.
A new survey paints a pessimistic picture with nearly half of travel and hospitality companies forecasting no revenues in the second quarter.

Around 90 percent of 394 surveyed firms said they need government loans to overcome the Covid-19-induced crisis.

The survey was conducted in mid-April by the Tourism Advisory Board, the Private Economic Development Research Board (Board IV) managed by the government’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform, Grant Thornton, and VnExpress.

Of the 394 respondents, travel agencies accounted for 51.4 percent, hotels for 15.3 percent and transport companies for 14.2 percent.

The survey found that 70.8 percent saw first quarter revenues fall by 70 percent year-on-year. To survive, 78 percent chose to temporarily cut wages or staff while 8.9 suspended operations.

Some 82.7 percent expected business to return to normal in the third quarter after the pandemic is contained.

The travel and hospitality firms’ troubles are occurring in the context of suspension of most domestic and all international flights, stringent entry and exit restrictions and the closure of all popular tourist destinations, bars and most other amusement places.

The government has prohibited entry for foreign nationals since March 22 except for those entering the country for diplomatic purposes or other special matters such as business managers, experts and high-skilled workers, and Vietnamese carriers suspended international flights on March 25.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered a nationwide social distancing campaign that lasted from April 1 to 15 and was extended for a week in 12 "high-risk" localities, including Hanoi and HCMC.

There were nearly 3.7 million international visitors in the first quarter, down 18.1 percent year-on-year.

Wednesday morning marked the sixth consecutive day in Vietnam without a new Covid-19 infection, keeping the country's tally of active infections unchanged at 52.

The Covid-19 pandemic, now in 210 countries and territories, has a reported death toll of more than 177,600.

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